chapter  8
15 Pages

‘‘Modern order/disorder’’: notes for a future archeologist

Disorder, the problem of order, and the demand for a justly ordered world: these concerns course through Hayward Alker’s work. The title of an important paper he wrote with Thomas Biersteker – “The dialectics of world order: Notes for a future archeologist of international savoir faire” (Alker and Biersteker 1984, and also discussed in the introduction to this volume) – captures both this concern with the problem of order and Alker’s strong sense that its solution depends on dialectical processes. As it happens, that paper is less about “world political order and disorder” (Alker and Biersteker 1984) than about the parochialism of the scholars who study this phenomenon, which the authors persuasively demonstrate by analyzing a compilation of course syllabi and reading lists (“an archeologist’s goldmine,” Alker and Biersteker 1984: 128). The paper makes no mention of disorder as a specifically modern problem, much less of modernity as a problem in itself. By 1992, when Alker (1996) addressed the International Studies Association as its President, modernity was very much on his mind.