Between Eurocentrism and Babel: A Framework for the Analysis of States, State Systems, and International Orders
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational Studies Quarterly. 2017, 61 (2), 328-336. 10.1093/isq/sqw057
Mindful of the growing interest in non-Western and pre-modern political systems, we propose a framework for the analysis of states, state systems, and international orders. We provide a culturally neutral definition of the state and outline a method for assessing variation in political organization both within and above the state. Our framework cleanly delineates hierarchy from anarchy and can be applied to a diverse set of state systems. We then show how the content of international order inter-relates with system structure and the local density (interaction capacity) of a region. We argue that our framework captures similarities—and exposes differences—between different systems and orders over time and space. It strikes a balance between the traditional focus on the Western experience and the current trend toward regional studies in which it is difficult to accumulate knowledge in a rigorous manner.