Conceptualizing unilateralism, fragmentationism and statism in a populism context – a rise of populist International Law?

Wei Shen, Carrie Shang


The rise of populist governments around the world has attracted a great deal of attention from international law scholars. The field of international law witnesses a range of studies analyzing recent populist movements and their impact on international law, in particular, in the fields of trade, environment, human rights and migration. However, existing literature focusing on the Global South is scant. Nonetheless, as populism is essentially linked to nativism, jingoism, and authoritarianism, the South countries need to be investigated as well, given their close association with nationalism and localism especially when they came to participate in the rule-of-law dialogues. This article fills the gap by offering some insights to the understanding of populism from three perspectives: behaviors, regimes and actors, and cautions that populism places global justice and rule of law at a high stake of risk.


Populism, Unilateralism, Rule of Law, Investment Law, China, Global South

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