chapter  2
The family of nations
Kinship as an international ordering principle in the nineteenth century
ByMorten Skumsrud Andersen, Benjamin de Carvalho
Pages 22

This chapter suggests that the phrase ‘the family of nations’ for a long time was more commonly deployed amongst international actors themselves to describe ‘the international’ than more common concepts in contemporary IR scholarship such as ‘international system’, ‘society’, and ‘community’. The authors argue that in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the concept of a family of nations was integral to legitimizing strategies for coercive measures and colonial rule.