A Critique of Polarity and Sovereignty

  • Hall GardnerEmail author


This chapter critiques concepts of “polarity” and explains the differences between the contemporary pluri-state constellation of powers and the essentially bicentric global system of the Cold War in theoretical terms. Given the fact that the concepts of “polarity” have tended to dominate IR concepts and discourse, this chapter explains why the conceptions of “bipolarity,” “multipolarity” and “unipolarity,” and “non-polarity” or “apolarity” do not adequately describe the nature of the global system and its historical dynamics and why the term “polycentrism” provides a more comprehensive analysis as a heuristic device.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International and Comparative PoliticsAmerican University of ParisParisFrance

Personalised recommendations