Structural international theory has become largely a matter of elaborating “the effects of anarchy.” However, Jack Donnelly argues, simple hunter-gatherer band societies perfectly fit the Waltzian model of anarchic orders but do not experience security dilemmas or warfare, pursue relative gains, or practice self-help balancing. They thus demonstrate that “the effects of anarchy,” where they exist, are not really effects of anarchy; this fact undermines mainstream structural international theory as it has been practiced for the past three decades. Dr. Donnelly starts his analysis of international relations from a different perspective, asking what one needs to differentiate how actors are arranged in three simple anarchic orders: forager band societies, Hobbesian states of nature, and great power states systems. The answer turns out to look nothing like the dominant tripartite (ordering principle, functional differentiation, distribution of capabilities) conception. Based on these cases, Dr. Donnelly presents a multidimensional framework of the elements of social and political structures that dispenses with anarchy, is truly structural (in contrast to the independent-variable agent-centric models of Waltz and Wendt), and highlights complexity, diversity, and regular change in the structures of international systems.

Jack Donnelly is the Andrew Mellon Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver, and author of Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice (Cornell University Press, 2002),  Realism and International Relations (Cambridge University Press, 2000), International Human Rights (Westview, 1993), and The Concept of Human Rights (Palgrave Macmillan, 1985). He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

The discussion will be moderated by Saltzman Institute member Robert Jervis, Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of Political Science at Columbia Univeristy.