International relations are generally understood as a realm of
anarchy in which countries lack any superior authority and interact
within a Hobbesian state of nature. In Hierarchy in
International Relations, David A. Lake challenges this
traditional view, demonstrating that states exercise authority over
one another in international hierarchies that vary historically but
are still pervasive today.
Revisiting the concepts of authority and sovereignty, Lake
offers a novel view of international relations in which states form
social contracts that bind both dominant and subordinate members.
The resulting hierarchies have significant effects on the foreign
policies of states as well as patterns of international conflict
and cooperation. Focusing largely on U.S.-led hierarchies in the
contemporary world, Lake provides a compelling account of the
origins, functions, and limits of political order in the modern
international system. The book is a model of clarity in theory,
research design, and the use of evidence.
Motivated by concerns about the declining international
legitimacy of the United States following the Iraq War,
Hierarchy in International Relations offers a powerful
analytic perspective that has important implications for
understanding America's position in the world in the years
Subjects: Political Science
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