Prospectus: Hierarchy and Anarchy in the Far East

Through my research, I aim to theorize about the formation of a hierarchical system of international relations in the Far East where Chinese empires entirely dominated the balance of power in the region, and argue ultimately that the assumption of anarchy in international relations does not hold true for all regions at all times. My dependent ordinal variable is the nature of the international system in the Far East, which can have values ranging from hierarchical from anarchical; I define the nature of the system as deriving from the distribution of power among its actors. The literature in this field does not, on the whole, argue that the Far East exists in a different underlying state of the international system than Westphalian Europe. When literature presents arguments in favor of hierarchy, that hierarchy is applied to the entirety of the international system, whereas I do not contest the validity of an underlying assumption of anarchy for Westphalian Europe but rather suggest that hierarchy provides a more valid framework for assessing international relations in the Far East. Previous literature has identified this theoretical gap, but the attempts to fill it have not truly targeted the problem and have unnecessarily reinvented the wheel in seeking to create new universal frameworks for the study of international relations everywhere. I contribute to the literature by creating a framework wherein the interactions between different underlying states of the international system may be analyzed.