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Abstract

Emotions play an important role in cognition and have a significant and all too often neglected influence on (international) law-making processes. Fear, in particular, can be a driver of reasoning and decisionmaking. Fear of terrorism / immigrants / health threats / food contamination / environmental hazards – to give a few notable examples – influences the perception of risks associated with these issues and consequently impacts international policy- and law-making. International law rules and doctrines are often adopted – if not overtly justified – on the basis of fear and other emotions. This article aims to explore how fear – as both an individual and collective emotion – may affect decision-making processes, be determinative of normative outcomes, and shape security policies at the domestic and international levels. This approach deviates from traditional rationalist understandings of law and emphasizes the role of emotions in apprehending the nature and functioning of legal processes. Hopefully, this exploration will open up interesting avenues for further research on the role of emotions in international legal processes.

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