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Heterarchy in World Politics (2023)

(Publisher : Routledge)

Author(s) : Philip G. Cerny

Philip G. Cerny is Professor Emeritus of Politics and Global Affairs at the University of Manchester, UK, and Rutgers University-Newark, USA. His research interests are the theory of world politics and political economy.


Heterarchy in World Politics challenges the fundamental framing of international relations and world politics. IR theory has always been dominated by the presumption that world politics is, at its core, a system of states. However, this has always been problematic, challengeable, time-bound, and increasingly anachronistic.

In the 21st century, world politics is becoming increasingly multi-nodal and characterized by "heterarchy" – the coexistence and conflict between differently structured micro- and meso quasi-hierarchies that compete and overlap not only across borders but also across economic-financial sectors and social groupings. Thinking about international order in terms of heterarchy is a paradigm shift away from the mainstream "competing paradigms" of realism, liberalism, and constructivism. This book explores how, since the mid-20th century, the dialectic of globalization and fragmentation has caught states and the interstate system in the complex evolutionary process toward heterarchy. These heterarchical institutions and processes are characterized by increasing autonomy and special interest capture. The process of heterarchy empowers strategically situated agents — especially agents with substantial autonomous resources, and in particular economic resources — in multi-nodal competing institutions with overlapping jurisdictions. The result is the decreasing capacity of macro-states to control both domestic and transnational political/economic processes. In this book, the authors demonstrate that this is not a simple breakdown of states and the states system; it is in fact the early stages of a structural evolution of world politics.

This book will interest students, scholars and researchers of international relations theory. It will also have significant appeal in the fields of world politics, security studies, war studies, peace studies, global governance studies, political science, political economy, political power studies, and the social sciences more generally.

Table of contents

Section I:

Theory and History  1. Heterarchy: Toward Paradigm Shift in World Politics  2. From Postinternationalism to Heterarchy: Turbulence and Distance Proximities in a World of Globalization and Fragmentation  3. Heterarchy and Social Theory  4. New Medievalism (Re)Appraised: Framing Heterarchy in World Politics  5. From Empire to Heterarchy  6. Heterarchy and State Transformation  7. Political Power in a Heterarchical World: A Categorization of Extra-state Authorities  8. Globalization, Heterarchy, and the Persistence of Anomie  


Section II:

Issue Areas and Case Studies  9. Nationalism, Capitalism and Heterarchy: Continuity and Change in the 21st Century World Order  10. Heterarchy and the Limits of Global Governance  11. Metropolitan Diplomacy: Global Metropolitan Law and Global Cities Seen from the Heterarchy Perspective  12. Heterarchy in an Age of Intangibles and Financialization  13. WTO Dispute Settlement and the Appellate Body Crisis as a Case Study of Heterarchy  14. Heterarchy and Global Environmental Change  15. Heterarchy and Global Internet Governance: The Case of ICANN  16. Heterarchy in the Mexican Competition Network: The Case of COFECE and IFC  17. Heterarchy in Russia: Paradoxes of Power

Bibliographic Information

Cerny, P. G. (2022). Heterarchy. Heterarchy in World Politics, 3–15.

ISBN 9781032403410

December 30, 2022, by Routledge

232 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations

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