Justice, order and anarchy : the international political theory of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon


Justice, order and anarchy : the international political theory of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

Alex Prichard

(The new international relations)

Routledge, 2013

  • : hbk

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Includes bibliographical references and index



This book provides a contextual account of the first anarchist theory of war and peace, and sheds new light on our contemporary understandings of anarchy in International Relations. Although anarchy is arguably the core concept of the discipline of international relations, scholarship has largely ignored the insights of the first anarchist, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Proudhon's anarchism was a critique of the projects of national unification, universal dominion, republican statism and the providentialism at the heart of enlightenment social theory. While his break with the key tropes of modernity pushed him to the margins of political theory, Prichard links Proudhon back into the republican tradition of political thought from which his ideas emerged, and shows how his defence of anarchy was a critique of the totalising modernist projects of his contemporaries. Given that we are today moving beyond the very statist processes Proudhon objected to, his writings present an original take on how to institutionalise justice and order in our radically pluralised, anarchic international order. Rethinking the concept and understanding of anarchy, Justice, Order and Anarchy will be of interest to students and scholars of political philosophy, anarchism and international relations theory.


1. Retrieving Proudhon 2. Anarchy in Contemporary IR Theory 3. National Unity and the 19th Century European Equilibrium 4. War, Providence and the International Order in the thought of Rousseau, Kant and Comte 5. From Providence to Immanence: Force and Justice in Proudhon's Social Ontology 6. The Historical Sociology of War: Order and Justice in Proudhon's La Guerre et la Paix 7. Anarchy, Mutualism and the Federative Principle 8. Anarchy is what we make of it: Rethinking Justice, Order and Anarchy Today

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