The Problem of International Order
The number of scholarly publications across various disciplines with 'order' in their title is formidable and seems to increase daily. Yet it is striking how rarely these works define precisely what is meant by 'order'. The nature of international order, its content, the conditions under which it emerges, how it functions and how it ends, are issues of enduring controversy in the study of international relations. This talk will consider the diverse ways in which international order has been conceptualized in the disciplines of International Relations Theory, International Law and the History of International Relations. It will then identify three core elements present in all international orders. Finally, it will offer a brief series of remarks on the character of the international order in 2022 and the challenge to that order posed by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.