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The Anarchical Society


The English School of international relations is something of a curiosity when compared to the theoretically-dense approaches taken in IR today.  A mix of constructivism and realism, it places a heavy emphasis on the role of rules in the international system, but with a very different take than that of the institutionalists.  Hedley Bull’s text predates these more scientific approaches taken with “modern” IR.  It remains a classic in the English School, and advances an argument about how states cooperate in ways that actually create an international society, despite the condition of anarchy.

Central Argument:


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About the author: Hedley Bull, FBA (10 June 1932 – 18 May 1985) was Professor of International Relations at the Australian National University, the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford. In 1977, Bull published his main work, The Anarchical Society. It is widely regarded as a key textbook in the field of international relations and is also seen as the central text in the so-called ‘English School’ of international relations. He was Montague Burton Professor of International Relations at Oxford from 1977 to 1985, and died there.