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In this systematic, fundamental text, Hedley Bull explores three key questions: What is the nature of order in world politics? How is it maintained within the contemporary states system? And do desirable and feasible alternatives to the states system exist? Contrary to common wisdom, Bull asserts that the sovereign states system is not in decline. Rather, it persists, if not thrives, for it is essential to maintaining an international world order. More than three decades after its publication, Bull's classic work continues to define and direct research in international relations. In this thirty-fifth anniversary edition, the text has been updated throughout and includes a new, interpretive foreword by the world's leading expert on Bull and his theoretical achievements. The Anarchical Society identifies and confronts the unwritten rules supporting the international order across time, despite sweeping changes in laws and institutions. It considers and rejects the idea that the states system is giving way to an alternative world government or some method of neo-medieval rule, or that the states system has ceased to be viable or compatible with objectives such as peace, economic justice, and ecological control. Bull also reviews and comments upon a variety of proposals for states system reform.