chapter  9
13 Pages

Order as a political concept

Order and chaos (or conflict) constitute the poles of politics and their study is the essence of political science. The build-up and breakdown of order are the basic subjects of political analysis, but they are particularly topical at the beginning of the third millennium. The old millennium has crashed in disorder. The search for order is the sign of our times. Both in the world system and in the sovereign systems of states order has broken down, raising challenges to analysis and action. The earlier systems of world order in this century – the colonial order and the bipolar order – were structured on conquest and conflict, but these orders have changed, yielding place to uncertainty. The successor system is not yet evident, and attempts to order interstate relations through such diverse and conflicting concepts as international organization, uni-or multi-polarity, transnational regimes, competing culture blocs, or a North-South divide remain inconclusive (Zartman 2007).