How hierarchical can international society be?

Clark, Ian (2009) How hierarchical can international society be?. International Relations, 23 3: 464-480. doi:10.1177/0047117809340472

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Author Clark, Ian
Title How hierarchical can international society be?
Journal name International Relations   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0047-1178
Publication date 2009-09-01
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1177/0047117809340472
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 23
Issue 3
Start page 464
End page 480
Total pages 17
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Sage
Language eng
Abstract Waltzian analysis proceeds from the distinction between the ordering principles of anarchy and hierarchy. This raises the large question whether the introduction of pockets of ‘authority’ would represent a fundamental challenge to an anarchical international society. The article investigates this theme by exploring a putative institution of hegemony. It begins with a distinction between primacy and hegemony, and develops the idea of hegemony as a potentially legitimate practice of international society. Since most political systems are ‘mixed’, it then concludes that adoption of a hierarchical principle of hegemony is no more contradictory for international society than is its development of other such institutions. In common with much recent scholarship, it agrees that international society can function as a form of ‘hierarchy under anarchy’, within which hegemony could play its part. The article finally demonstrates what is distinctive to hegemonic behaviour, and suggests that practices such as soft balancing do not represent any form of balancing at all, but are better understood as attempts to institutionalise hegemony.
Keyword Anarchy
Hegemonic stability
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collection: School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 10 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 14 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 25 Jun 2014, 05:17:41 EST by Bronwyn Clare Crook on behalf of School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies