Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Before Anarchy
Hobbes and his Critics in Modern International Thought


  • Date Published: July 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107535008

£ 20.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • How did the 'Hobbesian state of nature' and the 'discourse of anarchy' - separated by three centuries - come to be seen as virtually synonymous? Before Anarchy offers a novel account of Hobbes's interpersonal and international state of nature and rejects two dominant views. In one, international relations is a warlike Hobbesian anarchy, and in the other, state sovereignty eradicates the state of nature. In combining the contextualist method in the history of political thought and the historiographical method in international relations theory, Before Anarchy traces Hobbes's analogy between natural men and sovereign states and its reception by Pufendorf, Rousseau and Vattel in showing their intellectual convergence with Hobbes. Far from defending a 'realist' international theory, the leading political thinkers of early modernity were precursors of the most enlightened liberal theory of international society today. By demolishing twentieth-century anachronisms, Before Anarchy bridges the divide between political theory, international relations and intellectual history.

    • Bridges political theory, international relations and intellectual history, therefore it will appeal to scholars who work in hybrid disciplines
    • Readers can trace all various uses of the state of nature as group-based rather than individualistic because of the book's new reading of the Hobbesian state of nature
    • Challenges the rigid opposition between nature and sovereignty
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Before Anarchy is well written, well researched, and nicely structured. It develops a persuasive and thought-provoking argument through historically and theoretically informed engagements with several key thinkers in the IR canon. Christov tackles a broad disciplinary problem of breaking down an artificial distinction between the domestic and international and through that political theory and international relations theory, as well as helps facilitate discussion between realists on both sides of the divide. Both of these are very valuable contributions to the literature.' Matt Sleat, University of Sheffield

    'Before Anarchy is a rich and meticulously researched manuscript that will shed light on many issues of interest to scholars and students alike. This is a must-read text for anyone who wishes to grasp a clearer understanding of Hobbes and his legacy, those interested in questions of sovereignty, and all students of the history of ideas (and in particular those focused on early modernity).' Daniel Brunstetter, University of California, Irvine

    'Cleverly titled and smartly executed, Before Anarchy by Theodore Christov does nothing less than unite the two crowns of 'state' - domestic and international - by way of an exacting reading of what Thomas Hobbes really wrote, in context, 'before anarchy' overran modern international thought. It also traces the reception and reduction of Hobbes by his critics Pufendorf, Cumberland, Vattel, Rousseau, and twentieth-century theorists who - not Hobbes - invented 'Hobbesian anarchy'. This is historical political theory as it should be done.' James Farr, Northwestern University

    'Until recently, political theorists have tended to neglect Hobbes' international thought, while international relations scholars have ignored the context of his broader political theory. Theodore Christov's excellent book is a welcome addition to the growing literature that is correcting these tendencies, as well as being a fine example of a productive conversation between political theory, international relations and the history of political thought. He recaptures a Hobbes 'before anarchy', but also helps us understand why Hobbes remains so vital today for both political theory and IR.' Duncan Ivison, University of Sydney

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107535008
    • length: 307 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Hobbesian Variations:
    1. Introduction: Hobbes after anarchy
    2. Hobbes before anarchy
    3. Hobbes without anarchy
    4. Hobbes against anarchy
    Part II. Hobbesian Receptions:
    5. Pufendorf's anti-Hobbesian camouflage
    6. Pufendorf's international thought
    7. Rousseau and the quest for peace
    8. Vattel the sorry comforter
    Epilogue: globalizing political thought.

  • Author

    Theodore Christov, George Washington University, Washington DC
    Theodore Christov is Assistant Professor of History and International Affairs at George Washington University, Washington, DC, where he teaches intellectual history and political theory. He is also a Faculty Affiliate at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs. He has previously served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Theory at Northwestern University, Illinois. His research interests lie in international political thought, early modern and modern political theory, and classical theories of international relations. He has published on Hobbes and international thought, Vattel and the liberal state, and the federal idea of early modern Europe.

Interview with Theodore Christov on his latest book 'Before Anarchy'

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.