A Theory of Open-Source Anarchy

David P. Fidler
James Louis Calamaras Professor of Law, Indiana University School of Law—Bloomington, and Director of the Indiana University Center on American and Global Security

The rise of the importance of non-State actors in global politics challenges existing theories of international relations, and this article presents a new approach to the non-State actor phenomenon by developing a “theory of open-source anarchy.” The article reviews the anarchy problem in the study of international relations and how leading theories explain this problem. This analysis questions whether these leading theories can explain the nature of non-State actor participation in contemporary global affairs. The article then develops a theoretical framework that addresses the non-State actor challenge. The framework argues that the nature of anarchy has shifted from a condition monopolized by States to one in which anarchy has become “open source” and accessible to non-State actors in unprecedented ways. The article explores the relationship between material power and ideas in open-source anarchy to explain the manner in which international relations operate in the early twenty-first century.

See other articles in Volume 15, Issue 1. Bookmark the permalink.