(R)evolution of the Axiology of Human Rights, Political Freedom and Security as a Determinant of UN Pragmatism

Metaphorization in Law


  • Jerzy Menkes The Warsaw School of Economics
  • Anna Kociołek-Pęksa The Warsaw School of Economics




human rights, political freedom, security, legal axiology, metaphorization in law, legal philosophy, public international law


The state, under the Westphalian order, was both the creator and product of international law which determined its position as the central actor of this system. The norms of international law defined the normative content of the internal security regime, where state security was identical with security as such in international relations. The reality that laid the foundation for this logical syllogism has been subject to gradual transformation that had its climax in the early decades of the 21st century. The states, previously holding monopoly of using force in international relations, which allowed for prevention of wars by means of intergovernmental agreements or maintenance of peace through institutionalized intergovernmental cooperation, lost their exclusive authority to use force. Stipulating ‘non-war’ by means of an (intergovernmental) international treaty became impossible since the non-state actors who apply force pursue counter-systemic goals and reject the international (and internal) order based on the rule of law. The state sovereignty, whose significant albeit not exclusive referent was autocracy and total power, has been transformed from the title of claim to cease the violation by the state into the personal right to protection (vested in an individual or minority/people/mankind in general). International law, which did not constitute a system until as late as the second half of the 20th century, not only obtained such character relatively quickly, but also has been subject to constitutionalization. The inherent unity of the international law as the common legal system of the international community is subject, along with this community, to fundamental divergence: into the law governing (internal) relationships between members of the, transatlantic, security community, which form a normatively and institutionally interrelated selfcontained regime on the one hand, and the international law that governs the relations between the countries of the Western Hemisphere and other subjects of the international law on the other hand. These factors determine the shift of the security paradigm: new actors, new normative content, different binding effect of the norms and, above all, new rules. The new paradigm of security in the international law dimension correlates with the shift in metaphors that build concepts significant to the international law such as state, sovereignty, security, and international treaty. These transformations set the stage for the legitimization of actions taken by the subjects of legal protection in the international law dimension.


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Author Biographies

Jerzy Menkes, The Warsaw School of Economics

Professor, Department of European Integration and Legal Studies, Collegium of World Economy, The Warsaw School of Economics, Head of the Polish Group of International Law Association. He is a specialist of international law. His main interests include the international economic law and international organizations.

Anna Kociołek-Pęksa, The Warsaw School of Economics

PhD in Law in the Department of Public Administration, Collegium of Socio-Economics, The Warsaw School of Economics. She is a specialist of legal sociology and public policy. Her main interests include legal philosophy, legal psychology and legal public policy.


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How to Cite

Menkes, Jerzy, and Anna Kociołek-Pęksa. 2021. “(R)evolution of the Axiology of Human Rights, Political Freedom and Security As a Determinant of UN Pragmatism: Metaphorization in Law”. Politeja 18 (2(71):79-93. https://doi.org/10.12797/Politeja.18.2021.71.04.