Hedley Bull and The Anarchical Society Now at 40

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


A text can be read critically to uncover assumptions and judgements setting a broad limit to what its author can coherently present as its main thesis. But it is also possible to identify spaces in the text’s architecture to manoeuvre it out of its apparent encasement. The Anarchical Society, now at 40, requires, and enables, both these kinds of engagement because of its relatively narrow basis and focus and its aging effects, combined with Bull’s well-known tendency to carefully qualify everything he asserts. There may be more we can read into or out of his book than its central focus, the ‘international society’ perspective. The contributors to this collection, from a variety of backgrounds in their intellectual orientations, academic specializations, and educational, professional, and other life experiences, collectively exhibit wide-ranging ways in which Bull’s text can be approached as outlined in this introductory essay.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Anarchical Society at 40
Subtitle of host publicationContemporary Challenges and Prospects
EditorsHidemi Suganami, Madeline Carr, Adam Humphreys
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780198779605, 9780198805144
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2017


  • Bull, English School, interpretivism, positivism, Rationalism, The Anarchical Society


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