The Enduring Place of Hierarchy in World Politics: Tracing the Social Logics of Hierarchy and Political Change
Conventional wisdom maintains that since 1648 the international system has comprised states-as-like units endowed with Westphalian sovereignty under anarchy. And while radical globalization theorists certainly dispute the centrality of the state in modern world politics, nevertheless most assume that the state retains its sovereignty under globalization. In contrast we argue that hierarchical sub-systems (and hence unlike units) have been common since 1648, and that the international system continues to be characterized by hierarchical (as well as anarchic) relations. The article goes on to reveal the existence of these multiple hierarchic formations and uncovers the differing social logics connected with identity-formation processes that govern their reproduction. Successive religious, racial, socialist and democratic social logics not only constitute their reproduction, but the emergence of new norms, social ideas and identities have to an important extent accounted for the rise and decay of successive hierarchies.
European Journal of International Relations