Anarchy, Ordering Principles, and the Constitutive Regime of the International System
Global Constitutionalism, Vol. 8 (2019), Forthcoming
29 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2019 Last revised: 11 Apr 2019
Date Written: March 21, 2019
Anarchy is the conceptual cornerstone of international relations theory and international law scholarship. Anarchy is described as the ordering principle of the international system, it is used as a variable that explains state behavior, and the international legal order is depicted as anarchic and decentralized. This Article questions this privileged status of anarchy. It challenges the designation of anarchy as the ‘ordering principle’ of the international system, and proposes an alternative theoretical construct – the Constitutive Regime of the International System – that performs the functions of the ‘ordering principles’ of the international system. This Constitutive Regime consists of three components. The first is a principle of differentiation that identifies the constituent units of the international system. The second is a theory of world order that prescribes policies and principles that are necessary to maintain order within the system, and the third are the secondary rules of international law that generate the international lawmaking and law-enforcement processes. In short, the Constitutive Regime provides a novel theoretical vernacular to understand and conceptualize the normative foundations of the international system.
Keywords: anarchy, international law theory, international relations theory, ordering principles, neorealism
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