Anarchy and International Relations theory: A reconsideration
Journal of International Political Theory
© The Author(s) 2017
In this introduction to the special issue, we undertake a little ground clearing in order to make room in IR for thinking differently about anarchy and world politics. Anarchy’s roots in, and association with social contract theory and the state of nature has unduly narrowed how we might understand the concept and its potential in IR. Indeed, such is the consensus in this regard that anarchy is remarkably uncontested, considering its centrality to the field. Looking around, both inside and outside IR, for alternative accounts, we find ample materials for helping us think anew about the nature of and possibilities for politics in anarchy. In the second part of the introduction we show how our contributors develop and expand on these resources and what we hope the special issue brings to IR.
The papers in this special issue are the culmination of two workshops on the subject of anarchy in IR theory, convened at the University of Exeter in 2014 and at the BISA@40 pre-conference Workshops, 2015. We are grateful to both institutions for the funding to support these two events. The editors wish to thank the participants at both events, the final list of contributors to this special issue, an anonymous reviewer, and Patrick Hayden for his editorial support.
Vol. 13 (3), pp. 252-265