This article scrutinises Robert Cox's theorisation of 19th century world order, proposing 'uneven and combined development' as an alternative conceptual approach. I contend that Cox's understanding of 19th century world order is insufficient as it neglects the significance of German ascendance. Privileging hegemonic construction of world order, Cox's account of the decomposition of Pax Britannica reifies the neo-realist anarchy problematique. Overall, Cox exaggerates the degree of rupture between phases of world order, obscuring developmental continuities that produce different 'geopolitical' contexts. Uneven and combined development, I propose, enables a fruitful reappraisal of the period. Process-based international historical sociology is suggested as an alternative way to think about 19th century world order and critical IR.
- international historical sociology
- uneven and combined development
- world order