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9 Santa Clara Journal of International Law 169 (2011)


There has been a long and fruitful discourse between and among legal academics and political scientists, known as international law (IL)-international relations (IL) scholarship. A great deal of that scholarship has discussed the effectiveness of particular IL regimes, usually as part of a larger discourse regarding the question of compliance with IL or international institutions, more generally, including agreed norms and soft law. This field of IL-IR scholarship has taken a fairly Westphalian and Weberian view of international law and of international relations, viewing states as the subjects of international law and, thus, seeing states as its subjects of study. This literature theorizes the impact of law and legalization on state behavior. What it has not done, or not done much of, is think about how the theories that have been developed in the state-centric, hard law-centric context relate to and have relevance for areas of international legal processes, such as CSR global governance initiatives, that indisputably envision corporations as their subjects and have only recently begun to look law-like. This Essay takes a step into this lacuna. Much like IL-IR scholarship asks why, and under what conditions, states comply with international law, this Essay aims to begin a discussion about why firms comply with global governance initiatives and seeks to uncovere some of the useful analogues to the IL-IR literature, as well as to identify the reasons why existing IL-IR compliance theories are surely deficient in the CSR global governance context.