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How did the 'Hobbesian state of nature' and the 'discourse of anarchy' - separated by three centuries - come to be seen as virtually synonymous? Before Anarchy offers a novel account of Hobbes's interpersonal and international state of nature and rejects two dominant views. In one, international relations is a warlike Hobbesian anarchy, and in the other, state sovereignty eradicates the state of nature. In combining the contextualist method in the history of political thought and the historiographical method in international relations theory, Before Anarchy traces Hobbes's analogy between natural men and sovereign states and its reception by Pufendorf, Rousseau and Vattel in showing their intellectual convergence with Hobbes. Far from defending a 'realist' international theory, the leading political thinkers of early modernity were precursors of the most enlightened liberal theory of international society today. By demolishing twentieth-century anachronisms, Before Anarchy bridges the divide between political theory, international relations and intellectual history.Read more
- Bridges political theory, international relations and intellectual history, therefore it will appeal to scholars who work in hybrid disciplines
- Readers can trace all various uses of the state of nature as group-based rather than individualistic because of the book's new reading of the Hobbesian state of nature
- Challenges the rigid opposition between nature and sovereignty
Reviews & endorsements
"Before Anarchy is well written, well researched, and nicely structured. It develops a persuasive and thought-provoking argument through historically and theoretically informed engagements with several key thinkers in the IR canon. Christov tackles a broad disciplinary problem of breaking down an artificial distinction between the domestic and international and through that political theory and international relations theory, as well as helps facilitate discussion between realists on both sides of the divide. Both of these are very valuable contributions to the literature."
Matt Sleat, University of SheffieldSee more reviews
"Before Anarchy is a rich and meticulously researched manuscript that will shed light on many issues of interest to scholars and students alike. This is a must-read text for anyone who wishes to grasp a clearer understanding of Hobbes and his legacy, those interested in questions of sovereignty, and all students of the history of ideas (and in particular those focused on early modernity)."
Daniel Brunstetter, University of California, Irvine
"Cleverly titled and smartly executed, Before Anarchy by Theodore Christov does nothing less than unite the two crowns of 'state' - domestic and international - by way of an exacting reading of what Thomas Hobbes really wrote, in context, 'before anarchy' overran modern international thought. It also traces the reception and reduction of Hobbes by his critics Pufendorf, Cumberland, Vattel, Rousseau, and twentieth-century theorists who - not Hobbes - invented 'Hobbesian anarchy'. This is historical political theory as it should be done."
James Farr, Northwestern University
"Until recently, political theorists have tended to neglect Hobbes' international thought, while international relations scholars have ignored the context of his broader political theory. Theodore Christov's excellent book is a welcome addition to the growing literature that is correcting these tendencies, as well as being a fine example of a productive conversation between political theory, international relations and the history of political thought. He recaptures a Hobbes 'before anarchy', but also helps us understand why Hobbes remains so vital today for both political theory and IR."
Duncan Ivison, University of Sydney
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- Date Published: July 2017
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781107535008
- length: 307 pages
- dimensions: 230 x 153 x 20 mm
- weight: 0.48kg
- contains: 1 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Part I. Hobbesian Variations:
1. Introduction: Hobbes after anarchy
2. Hobbes before anarchy
3. Hobbes without anarchy
4. Hobbes against anarchy
Part II. Hobbesian Receptions:
5. Pufendorf's anti-Hobbesian camouflage
6. Pufendorf's international thought
7. Rousseau and the quest for peace
8. Vattel the sorry comforter
Epilogue: globalizing political thought.
Interview with Theodore Christov on his latest book 'Before Anarchy'
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