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The New Haven School of International Law offered a significant, process-based rejoinder to the realism and positivism that had dominated international relations theory in the United States since the close of World War II. Whereas international relations realists viewed international law as merely a product of state power relations, and positivists dismissed international law entirely because it lacked both sovereign commands and a rule of recognition, scholars of the New Haven School studied law as a social process of authoritative decisionmaking. Such a study necessarily expanded the state-focused perspective of both the realists and positivists by drawing attention to ongoing interactions among variously situated bureaucratic and institutional actors.

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