The new anarchy: globalization and fragmentation in world politics
Journal of International Political Theory
© The Author(s) 2017
Modern international relations theory has consistently underestimated the depth of the problem of anarchy in world politics. Contemporary theories of globalisation bring this into bold relief. From this perspective, the complexity of transboundary networks and hierarchies, economic sectors, ethnic and religious ties, civil and cross-border wars, and internally disaggregated and transnationally connected state actors, leads to a complex and multidimensional restructuring of the global, the local and the uneven connections in between. We ought to abandon the idea of ‘high’ and ‘low’ politics, ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ once and for all. This does not remove the problem of anarchy but rather deepens it, involving multidimensional tensions and contradictions variously described as ‘functional differentiation’, ‘multiscalarity’, ‘fragmegration’, disparate ‘landscapes’, the ‘new security dilemma’ and ‘neomedievalism’. Approaching anarchy from the perspective of plural competing claims to authority and power forces us to think again about the nature of global order and the virtues of anarchy therein. Will the long-term outcome be the emergence of a more decentralised, pluralistic world order or a quagmire of endemic conflict and anomie?
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from SAGE Publications via the DOI in this record.
Published online 20 June 2017