Norberto Bobbio

Norberto Bobbio and international law

For an international law scholar who delights in the work of Norberto Bobbio, who was without contest one of the greatest legal theorists of the 20th century, Bobbio’s attitud towards his discipline is downright frustrating. Admittedly, internationalists are used to theorists’ hostile or reserved attitudes towards international law. Remember John Austin explaining that international law is not law "properly so called" but mere "positive morality", or Hart, who saw in international law a set of primary norms without any secondary norms, and so a very primitive system that hardly deserved to be called law at all. But Bobbio’s attitud is even more frustrating. He says next to nothing of international law, not, as we shall see, that he did not make reference to it, but he (almost) never addressed it as a specific subject of reflection for the legal theorist.