IRPG Theory of International Relations Sebastian Plappert Anarchy as the founding principle of International Relations In general understanding, anarchy may be defined as orderless chaos, the absence or inefficiency of a higher authority and the constant struggle or threat of war Oxford University Pressp. This corresponds well to the Hobbesian analogy of the state of nature, where every man is enemy to every man Hobbesp.
We will define anarchy, as well as examine how different international relations theories such as realism, liberalism, and constructivism, as well as power transition theory view notions of anarchy.
What is Anarchy in International Relations? Anarchy international relations is defined as the absence of some overarching power in the international system.
An anarchical world is one in which there are no pre-set laws or rules to help oversee and dictate state and non-state behavior. The idea of anarchy is central to international relations.
States can make commitment and treaties, but no sovereign power ensures compliances and punished deviations. Another definition of anarchy suggests an absence of order; conditions of chaos Milner, Regardless of the exact definition of anarchy in international relations that one uses, various scholars of international relations have argued that it is difficult to understand world affairs today without taking into account anarchy, since behaviors arise out of the conditions of anarchy in international relations.
The idea of anarchy international relations is viewed differently depending on which international relations theory one subscribes to. In fact, the topic of anarchy is among the central points of debate in the international relations theory community.
For example, in the case of political realisman anarchical society leads states to defend for themselves. This sort of world—one in which there is not an overarching authority to command adherence to a specific set of actions or behavioral guidelines, leads states to have to find ways to defend themselves.
In this anarchical world, no one else can be trusted, since there is no external force to punish the actors in the international system. So, for realists, states will seek power or at least defense in an anarchical system, since the only way that one can get someone else to do something is through coercion, or if they themselves choose to comply Slaughter, For the realists, anarchy leads to an environment of distrust.
As Holsti writes: In addition, because of the anarchical nature of the world, not only will realists say that one cannot trust others, but this will have implications on interactions. So, relative power matters very much in the case of realism and anarchy Walt, Liberalistslike realists, recognize the role of anarchy in international relations.
However, liberalists differ from realism in that they view anarchy as possibility; state and non-state actors can come together within an anarchical system and set up institutions and rules in which can help make the world better off.
Through joint cooperation, world actors can work together on a series of issues, and because of this, they can all increase their own absolute power.
So, for the liberalist, anarchy is not something that will lead to violence and distrust, but rather, it is merely a condition that those in the world system can overcome by cooperation and joint ventures.
Again, the main differences between realists and liberalists regarding anarchy are the implications that arise in terms of how actors will behave in this anarchical system Powell, In addition, for liberalists, they do not worry about relative power, but rather, argue for absolute power; as long as both sides are benefitting from cooperation, this will be good for both parties involved; they do not need to worry about relative power with one another.
Social constructivists take more of a middle position between realism and liberalist international relations thought. For constructivists, anarchy is neither bad, nor good in the sense of the type of behavior that will arise out of anarchical conditions.
So, they challenge realist ideas that anarchy drives states to act in certain ways Wendt, Rather than anarchy leading to a specific type of behavior, constructivists argue that anarchy in international relations has no set behavioral responses; states can make what they want out of anarchy Wendt, From anarchy, conditions of insecurity and distrust can surely arise.
But so can conditions of peace and harmony. It is not the notion of anarchy that itself will cause a specific behavior, but rather, as Alexander Wendt has argued, actors in the international system themselves can make of anarchy what they will.
These arguments suggest that conclusions often claimed to follow from the absence of a central authority do not.If you retrieved the thesis via an online database, include the name of the database in italics followed by a period, a single space, and the word “Web” followed by a period and single space.
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