Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
David A. Lake
Anarchy is the absence of government or, more generally, political authority over and between the units of a political system. As an analytic concept, the term does not imply a lack of political order or the presence of chaos and thus differs from informal and colloquial use. The term also differs from anarchism , a normative and possibly utopian position that advocates minimizing the scope of political authority to maximize the domain of individual autonomy. The condition of anarchy is widely understood to describe the modern international system in which states are the units of analysis, each is fully sovereign, and all are formally equal. It is this condition of anarchy, in turn, that separates international relations from other domains of politics and renders it, for many analysts, a distinct field of inquiry with different rules and patterns of interaction. Although other political arenas may also be anarchic, such as ...