Society and Anarchy in International Relations (1966)

  • Hedley Bull


Whereas men within each state are subject to a common government, sovereign states in their mutual relations are not. This anarchy1 it is possible to regard as the central fact of international life and the starting-point of theorizing about it.2 A great deal of the most fruitful reflection about international life has been concerned with tracing the consequences in it of this absence of government. We can, indeed, give some account in these terms of what it is that distinguishes the international from the domestic field of politics, morals and law.


International Society International Relation Social Contract Moral Rule Universal State 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 3.
    Hobbes, Leviathan, ch. xiii (London: Dent, Everyman edn, 1953), p. 65.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Hobbes, Leviathan (1953), p. 66.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Hobbes, Leviathan (1953), p. 64.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    M. Fortes and E. E. Evans-Pritchard, African Political Systems (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1940), p. 6.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    On the functioning of the principle that might is right in primitive and in international society, see Ernest Gellner, ‘How to Live in Anarchy’, The Listener (April 3, 1958), pp. 579–583Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Hobbes, Leviathan (1953), p. 65.Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    Spinoza, Tractatus Politicus, ch. iii, para. 11 (The Political Works, A. G. Wernham (ed.) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1958), p. 295).Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    Hobbes, Leviathan (1953), p. 63.Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    Friedrich von Gentz, Fragments upon the Balance of Power in Europe (London: Peltier, 1806), p. 63.Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    Gentz, Fragments (1806), p. 62.Google Scholar
  11. 14.
    J. P. F. Ancillon, Tableau des Revolutions du Système Politique de l’Europe, depuis la Fin du Quinzième Siècle (Paris: Anselin et Pochard, 1823), vol. i, pp. 262–263Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hedley Bull

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations