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Center-Periphery Relations What Kind of Rule and Does it Matter?

Center-Periphery Relations What Kind of Rule and Does it Matter?

Nicholas Onuf
Florida International University
Pontifica Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro

All Azimuth V6, N1, Jan. 2017, 5-16

Abstract

In proposing ‘a structural theory of imperialism’ nearly half a century ago, Johan Galtung made center-periphery relations central to peace research theory and more generally to the way scholars from the periphery see international relations. Galtung took an imperialist system to be a special case of a ‘dominance system’; any such system enforces an unequal distribution of privilege and material well-being through mechanisms of direct, structural and cultural violence. I propose to re-write Galtung’s structural theory by taking rules and rule to perform the function that he assigned to violence. I conclude that today’s global imperialist system is ruled through a functionally segmented hegemony, supported by hierarchical coercion against a heteronomous backdrop.

One of the aims of this journal is to "publish pieces bridging the theory-practice gap; dealing with under-represented conceptual approaches in the field; and making scholarly engagements in the dialogue between the “center” and the “periphery”."[1]I presented a briefer version of this piece at the Center for Foreign Policy and Peace Research, Bilkent University, 15 April 2016. I am grateful to Ersel Aydınlı and the Turkish Fulbright Commission for making my visit possible, to Gonca Biltekin for advice, and to an engaged audience for their comments.  In this piece, I cannot pretend to bridge the theory-practice gap. Instead, I devote considerable attention to a legendary scholar who, early in his career, made a stunning contribution to peace research theory, and has, since then, dedicated himself to bridging the gap between theory and conflict settlement. I do deal with an under-represented conceptual approach to the field of International Relations (which I take to embrace „academic studies on foreign policy analysis, peace, and development research‟). In the field, this conceptual approach is a version of constructivism identified with me (hence under-represented); it emphasizes the importance of rule and conditions of rule in social relations generally.[2]2. Nicholas Greenwood Onuf, World of Our Making: Rules and Rule in Social Theory and International Relations (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1989); Nicholas Greenwood Onuf, Making Sense, Making Worlds: Constructivism in Social Theory and International Relations (Abingdon: Routledge, 2013), 3-20 Finally, I argue that rule always manifests itself as the domination of those whom we may style the „center‟ over those whom we may then style the „periphery.‟ I have elsewhere expressed my reservations about speaking this way.[3]3.Onuf, Making Sense, Making Worlds, 195-212. Nevertheless, I realize that many scholars see me in the center and themselves in the periphery and that is important (for me, at least) to engage them in dialogue.

The scholar in question is Johan Galtung. A Norwegian by birth, he was educated as a mathematician and sociologist. He was instrumental in founding the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) in 1959, which he directed for a decade and the Journal of Peace Research in 1964. A few years later, Galtung published two pieces in that journal, together constituting the core of his contribution to peace research theory, here emphasizing the term theory. Judging from the thousands of times that these two pieces have been cited, I am not alone in reaching this conclusion.4[4]4.Two other pieces might be added to give a fuller picture of Galtung’s theoretical concerns in this early period. Johan Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Aggression,” Journal of Peace Research 1, no. 2 (1964): 95-119, considers the social sources of personal aggression, understood as direct violence. Johan Galtung, “Feudal Systems, Structural Violence, and the Structural Theory of Revolutions,” vol. 1, International Peace Research Association Third Proceedings (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1970), 110- 88, develops many themes to be found in the two pieces under consideration in these pages. In view of its limited availability and influence (it has been cited only 27 times, once by me), I am ignoring it for present purposes. In the first piece, called „Violence, Peace and Peace Research,‟ Galtung argued for „an extended concept of violence‟—one that included violence where there is no one actually engaged in violence, where violence is „structural or indirect.‟ [5]Johan Galtung, “Violence, Peace and Peace Research,” Journal of Peace Research 6, no. 3 (1969): 168-70, his emphasis. Galtung's incisive description of violence in this form lends itself to empirical assessment and thus leads directly to practical improvement in the welfare of vast numbers of people. In my view, this alone accounts for the extraordinary reception accorded the notion of structural violence. Yet Galtung meant for his readers to see the importance of the abstract term structural for theoretical purposes. Social orders have structures, and they range from relatively egalitarian to highly hierarchical.6 [6]Galtung, “Violence, Peace and Peace Research,” 172 Quoting Galtung at some length:

We can now mention six factors that serve to maintain inegalitarian distributions, and consequently can be seen as mechanisms of structural violence:

1. Linear ranking order—the ranking is complete, leaving no doubt as to who is higher in any pair of actors;

2. Acyclical interaction pattern—all actors are connected, but only one way—there is only one „correct‟ path of interaction;

3. Correlation between rank and centrality—the higher the rank of the actor in the system, the more central his position in the interaction network;

4. Congruence between the systems—the interaction networks are structurally similar.

5. Concordance between the ranks—if an actor is high in one system then he also tends to be high in another system where he participates and

6. High rank coupling between levels—so that the actor at Ievel n-l are represented at level n through the highest ranking actor at level n-1.[7]Galtung, „„Violence, Peace and Peace Research,” 176.

Notice the brief mention of „centrality‟ in the third mechanism. Rather than decoding and then commenting on this or the five other mechanisms, I turn now to the second piece, called „A Structural Theory of Imperialism.‟ [8]Johan Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Imperialism,” Journal of Peace Research 8, no. 2 (1971): 81-117. In it, Galtung took the center-periphery relation and made it central to his theoretical work. He later reported that he wrote the piece in the course of a weekend in August of 1970, when he was 40 years old and at the height of his extraordinary powers. [9]Johan Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Imperialism‟—Ten Years Later,” typescript, n. d., accessed July 10, 2016. https://www.transcend.org/galtung/papers/A%20Structural%20Theory%20of%20Imperialism%20-%20Ten%20Years%20Later.pdf): 1 As the author or co-author of 1600 papers and 160 books (not to mention mediator in 150 conflicts), he remains staggeringly productive.[10]As reported on TRANSCEND International‟s Website, accessed July 10, 2016, https://www.transcend.org/galtung/#bio. For a complete bibliography, go to https://www.transcend.org/galtung/#publications Yet I do not have the slightest doubt that his 1971 piece is the most important thing that he has ever written.

In my own case, reading it was a decisive moment in my early development as a scholar in the fields of International Law and International Relations. Re-reading the piece decades later, I can see this even more clearly than I could then. Consider the power and cogency of Galtung's opening words:

This theory takes as its point of departure two of the most glaring facts about the world: the tremendous inequality, within and between nations, in almost all aspects of human living conditions, including the power to decide over those living conditions; and the resistance of this inequality to change. The world consists of Center and Periphery nations; each nation, in turn, has its centers and periphery.[11]Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Imperialism,” 81, his emphasis.

Galtung then declared his normative concern: he is committed to liberation from any „dominance system.‟ Center-periphery relations represent „a sophisticated type of dominance relation which cuts across nations, basing itself on a bridgehead which the center in the Center nation establishes in the center of the Periphery nation, for the joint benefit of both.‟ [12]Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Imperialism,” 81. This type of system he called imperialism. "Briefly stated, imperialism is a system that splits up collectivities and relates some of the parts to each other in relations of harmony of interest, and relations of disharmony of interest, or conflict of interest." [13]13 Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Imperialism,” 81, his emphasis. It should be obvious that privileged Center academics speaking to privileged Periphery academics and publishing in their academic journals exemplify the very dominance relation that Galtung called imperialist. And I should also point out that virtually all of his illustrious career exemplifies the same relation. I return to the implications of this „structural‟ condition later.

Galtung proceeded to identify two mechanisms and five types of imperialism. In his 1969 piece, he had identified six mechanisms together producing structural violence. Without expressly saying so, Galtung seems to have viewed structural violence as an effect of imperialism and mechanism as an analytic device—an observer‟s construction, a way of representing the proximate cause of structural violence. That he reduced the number of mechanism from six to two simply records a shift in stance. In order to characterize imperialism fully, he needed to stand back from one of its empirically discernible effects (structural violence). Any such shift in stance or perspective confirms that structure is not inherent in objects (or systems of objects) under observation, but an observer‟s construct.[14]See Onuf, Making Sense, Making Worlds, 96-112, for more on this, and then see Jonathan Joseph, “Is Waltz a Realist?” International Relations 24, no. 4 (2010): 478-93. Galtung implicitly confirmed this conception of structure when he titled his 1971 piece „A Structural Theory of Imperialism,‟ and not „A Theory of Structural Imperialism.‟

One might suppose that Galtung's two mechanisms operate to produce five, and only five types, of imperialism. This turns out not to be so, because the mechanisms are sketches of the two operating parts of any imperialist system, however many types one might go on to identify by reference to some list of relevant properties. The causes that matter most (from any given observer‟s point of view) are those that enable the system to function—to work toward the end, goal or purpose for which the system exists. In this way of thinking, function is a species of causation. [15]See Arthur L. Stinchcombe, Constructing Social Theories (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1968): 80-101, on function as a „complex causal structure‟ Mechanisms are functionally relevant structures. Any system depends on structures oriented to ends, whether those ends are a function of design or the cumulative effect of ‘natural selection.’ In an imperialist system, the defining end or goal is domination on the part of some few, whether a conscious strategy or the unplanned result of many contingent interactions among system units (nations, corporate entities of any sort, human individuals).

Galtung called the two mechanisms a “vertical interaction structure” and a “feudal interaction structure.” [16]Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Imperialism,” 85. The first sketches the usual asymmetric relations of the few   units with access to resources (center) and those many without (periphery); it is conventionally represented as a pyramid. The feudal interaction structure is a linked series of symmetric relations among the few. Those few are rough equals with an interest in coordination at the expense of the many. The relations of the few constituting the center can be represented as a circle. When the two mechanisms are combined, we visualize something resembling a flat-topped volcano.[17] My image, not Galtung’s; “A Structural Theory of Imperialism,” 89, fig. 2, looks like a volcano viewed from above. Galtung used the metaphor of a wheel’s hub, spokes and rim.[18]For example, Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Imperialism,” 97.

In my view, Galtung’s two mechanisms are not mechanisms at all, or at least not mechanisms in the usual sense, because they do not tell us how the system works. Evidently each of the five types of imperialist systems works differently; each must have its own type of mechanism. On Galtung’s account, the five types are economic, political, military, communication and cultural. He acknowledged that the “order of presentation is rather random: we have no theory that one is more basic than the others, or precedes the others.”[19] Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Imperialism,” 91.

With no type-specific mechanisms, there can be no way to order the list, or even to restrict it to the five possibilities that Galtung set forth. He might have argued, à la Talcott Parsons, that any social system must perform some small number of functions to survive as a system, but this would have complicated his exposition significantly. In any event, he abjured Parsons’ structural-functionalism, perhaps because of its much-discussed normative bias in favor of system survival. I should point out, however, that Galtung’s claim, quoted above, that inequality is resistant to change implies that system survival is a functional imperative. Galtung’s structuralism dispatches such functional considerations, not to mention institutional arrangements, in favor of a metaphorical language that conveys solidity and endurance. Structure, structures, structural features and conditions are just there.

Given Galtung’s distant perch, a dominance system has only one function, which is for the few to dominate the many. I should point out that he culled his five types from the historical record; they are inductive, conventionalized and descriptive—typical examples, and not ideal types. Indeed they are contingent modes or techniques of domination, whether discovered or designed, parading as abstract universals. All of them are present in greater or lesser degree in every example of an enduring dominance system.

Conspicuously missing from the list is law as a mode or technique of domination.[20] “As used in these investigations, the concept of law has no moral connotation whatsoever. It designates a specific technique of social organization. The problem of law . . . is the problem of social technique, not a problem of morals”. Hans Kelsen, General Theory of Law and the State (New York: Russell & Russell, 1961), 5. Galtung would surely say that law is both a problem of technique and, by its nature, a moral problem. There are a number of possible reasons for this omission: unconscious resistance to the smug liberal equation of law and order, careless subordination of law to politics (as when he associated politics with decision and obedience[21]Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Imperialism,” 92, table 4.), cavalier dismissal of institutional arrangements   in favor of structure as an all-purpose metaphor. Conceivably he thought that law results in any center’s direct domination of its periphery, while imperialism is indirect domination through a periphery’s center. If so, then he failed to see that a federal legal order law operating at two or more levels is an imperialist system. Designated agents drawn from the periphery’s center is some constitutional (emphatically legal) electoral process are said   to represent the periphery’s periphery in the center’s decision-making apparatus.[22] Galtung has since concerned himself with (con)federal systems, although in terms too sketchy to contribute to his structural theory. Johan Galtung, Peace by Peaceful Means: Peace and Conflict, Development and Civilization (London: SAGE Publications, 1996), 60-9.

From Galtung’s point of view, electoral representation may be a fig-leaf for a dominance system. Or it may open up possible alternatives. As a Norwegian, he might have an ingrained normative preference for social democracy. It seems unlikely, however, that he would consider law in general as a benign alternative to the modes of domination on his list. All too familiar is the positivist model of law as a coercive instrument and the state as a legal order potentially monopolizing the use of force in social relations.[23] Kelsen’s General Theory of Law and the State, just quoted, is a systematic and highly influential explication of the positivist model. Among English speakers, H. L. A. Hart’s The Concept of Law (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1960) is no doubt even more influential. Indeed it is quite fashionable these days to day that law is physical violence by another name.[24] Nicholas Onuf, “Old Mistakes: Bourdieu, Derrida, and the ‘Force of Law’,” International Political Sociology 3, no. 4 (2010): 315-18.

Not all theories or models of law make the use of force a central feature. All theories do share another feature, namely, that law takes the form of rules.[25] Not all theorists use the term rule—notably members of the so-called New Haven School of ‘configurative jurisprudence’ do not. See Myres S. McDougal and Harold Lasswell, “The Identification and Appraisal of Diverse Systems of Public Order,” American Journal of International Law 53, no. 1 (1959): 1-29, where the authors use the term prescription in place of rule: “Prescription is the articulation of general requirements of conduct” (p. 9, their emphasis). They slipped just once in this piece and fell back on the term rule. Not all rules are legal. As a general matter, legal rules are formal, specified as to source and scope, and backed by sanctions—legal rules stipulating consequences for failing to follow other legal rules. Under the influence of sociologists, we in the field of International Relations often call informal rules of uncertain source and scope norms, while philosophers usually speak of rules generically. I follow the philosophers here: rules call for conduct consistent with their content. One ought to do what the rule says one should; if one chooses to follow the rule, or not, there are likely consequences assessed in advance.[26] Onuf, World of Our Making, 66-95.

Equipped with this understanding of rules, we can now take up the issue of imperialist mechanisms and take it beyond Galtung‟s confused discussion. There may be other such mechanisms that I have yet to consider. For my purposes here, I will stipulate four.

  1. Domination takes place by means, or use, of force—threatening the use of force often suffices, but only if the threat is periodically carried out.
  2. Domination takes place by use of rules—including legal rules.
  3. Domination takes place through speech—as when assign value to people or institutions and give reasons for doing so.
  4. Domination takes place through intimidation and incitement—through the manipulation of emotions.

As an observer, I offer these mechanisms tentatively, fully aware that other observers will see them overlapping. Thus the positivist model of law combines the first and second mechanisms. Any attempt to draw a firm distinction between reasoned speech and emotional manipulation is a highly suspect. When Galtung introduced the concept of ‘cultural violence’ in 1990, his frame of reference included my fourth mechanism and elements of the third.[27] Johan Galtung, “Cultural Violence,” Journal of Peace Research 27, no. 3 (1990): 291-305. In this piece, he no longer spoke of mechanisms as he had earlier. We can expect all four mechanisms to appear in various combinations in actual dominance systems—in those systems that some community of observers consistently describe as such, as indeed we do in repeating what those observers have to say.

Before Galtung introduced the concept of structural violence, peace researchers tended to see the world primarily in terms of domination by use of force. Galtung’s signal innovation was to dissociate violence from coercion. Nevertheless, most peace researchers, not to mention most scholars in the field of International Relations, equate peace with the absence of violence, and violence as the material manifestation of coercion. So do most people; ordinary language defeats any effort to dissociate force as a mechanism of social control from violence as the direct infliction of damage to the human body, the experience of pain and threat of immediate death. For anyone equating force and violence, other mechanisms merely serve to make violence tolerable. The threat of violence is always latent in social relations.

In my view (as a scholar seeking, like Galtung, to understand domination), the use of rules comes first. As speaking beings, we prefer to use rules to dominate one another because they do the job better than direct violence (or, as we often say, naked force) does. Reliance on rules allows us to rationalize asymmetric social relations—make them seem reasonable, even necessary—and then to keep these relations in place for an indefinite period of time. The use of force consumes resources; as its effects wear off, it is necessary to use force again and again, all the while replenishing the resources consumed. This is, of course, exactly how many people see imperialism—a dominance system in which the costs of domination are ruthlessly extracted from its victims.

The use of rules is domination on the cheap. Other mechanisms lend support to the use of rules, thereby making it even less expensive. The benefits of using rules are so great that rules are to be found everywhere in social relations. Arguably this mechanism is humanity’s greatest, most distinctive invention. It is an invention that makes speech possible and an invention that speech makes possible. That it is a mechanism for domination is less obvious, precisely because it makes domination less visible than the naked use of force does.

I offer therefore a general rule, indeed an iron law, for social existence: Where there are rules, there is a condition of rule.[28] Paraphrasing Onuf, Making Sense, Making Worlds, 7. As I said earlier, our conduct, singly and together, is always, if not consciously or actively, a matter of choosing whether to follow rules, or not. We typically choose to follow rules, and effectuate rule, for all sorts of compelling reasons. When we do not, we anticipate adverse consequences. Since rules are everywhere, rule is everywhere, including, I should emphasize, the relations of nations. One might be tempted to say that rule is the natural condition of humanity. Better to say, those who make the rules benefit disproportionately, if not always obviously, from the condition of rule. Ruler-ruled relations constitute a dominance system—the one that matters the most for humanity.

Elsewhere in my work, I have tried to develop this conception of rule and rules into a framework for the purpose of clarifying how rule works.[29] Onuf, World of Our Making, 66-95, 196-227; Onuf, Making Sense, Making Worlds, 3-20. In doing so I have drawn on speech act theory to identify three primary kinds of rules, to which three generic forms of rule correspond. Let me summarize this framework, perhaps too briefly for anyone to assimilate it completely, before going on to show how center-periphery relations function as a system of rule.

First, the three basic kinds of rules: Instruction-rules, directive-rules, and commitment- rules.

1.Instruction-rules draw distinctions among members of any society and assign value to those distinctions, thus defining status and constituting status cohorts. These cohorts occupy ranks in a status-order, each rank valued more than the rank below but less than the rank above. Being valued roughly equally, rank members form a network and occupy a single plane in Euclidian space. Taken together, these networks constitute a stratified system. Rank members effectively assure the system’s integrity by initiating and following instruction-rules that are specific to their rank in the status-order. Such rules accord deference to rank members by granting titles, honors, prizes, immunities and courtesies. At the bottom of the status-order, so much is disvalued that the rules grant few privileges of any kind.

2.Directive-rules take the form of standing, enforceable orders, such as positivist legal theory stipulates. These rules need to be carried out, and for this purpose there will be rules (often but not always directive-rules) creating offices; officers exercise closely related powers and duties appropriate to their assigned task (such as enforcing legal rules). While a single office may seem stand above, or over, those who have no office, we might better say that there will always exist at least two offices, one over the other. Members of the lower office—the ‘rank and file’—may have few powers, but they have the general duty of following the rules, thereby carrying them out. Offices arranged by rank in descending order form an organization or chain of command. That the term rank is routinely applied to status orders and organizations is a source of confusion, with consequences that I will address below.

3.Commitment-rules are recognizable in rights that have correlative duties: for every right that I possess, others have the duty to allow me the exercise of that right, and I have those same duties when others exercise their rights. Many legal theorists put rights and rules in separate categories, in order (I suspect) to give rights a more exalted status suiting their liberal sentiments (more on this below). Only when taken as a unit does any right and correlative duty function as a rule (technique, mechanism) by which to effectuate dominance. How such rules do so is not obvious—at least it was not obvious until Parsons linked norms (informal rules) and roles (‘role-expectations’) and assumed that expectations acquire normative weight.[30] Talcott Parsons, The Social System (New York: Free Press, 1951). For a critical discussion of loose talk about expectations and their normative status, see Nicholas Onuf, International Legal Theory: Essays and Engagements, 1966-2006 (Abingdon: Routledge-Cavendish, 2008), 443-8. Roles are voluntarily assumed, just as rights are voluntarily exercised. I may have the right to speak, but I may choose not to speak—to assume the role of speaker in designated institutional settings.

While roles differ in this respect from statuses and offices, they are also arranged on a horizontal plane. Thus actors, as role-holders, are members of a single status cohort, or status equals. Although their roles may differ greatly, they constitute an association. Insofar as rights and correlative duties make members partners of a sort, commitment-rules give rise to a generalized partnership. For Parsons, roles and associated expectations make social systems work, but only if expectations conform to rules, roles are stable, and partners acknowledge each as equals in respect to the relevant rules.

Now let me identify the three forms of rule that I believe follow from putting each of the three kinds of rule to use. In bringing the rules-rule relation to my colleagues’ attention almost three decades ago, I named them hegemony, hierarchy and heteronomy.[31] Onuf, World of Our Making, 161-95. Each of these names is variously problematic, but I have yet to come up with better alternative.

1.A term used frequently in the field of International Relations, hegemony ‘draws attention to the ways that social conditions of production, coercion, consent and leadership must combine in specific strategies that project themselves across a range of social institutions and practices.’[32]Jonathan Joseph, “The Hegemony of Governmentality: Towards a Research Agenda,” All Azimuth (forthcoming); Simon Reich and Richard Ned Lebow, “Influence and Hegemony: Shifting Patterns of Material and Social Power in World Politics,” All Azimuth 6, no. 1 (2017): 17-47, exemplifies this highly generalized conception of hegemony. I use the term more precisely than Jonathan Joseph does in the passage just quoted. In doing so, I draw attention to rules (Joseph calls them ‘technologies’) and thus to the form of rule. By my reckoning, hegemony is the form of rule in which instruction-rules are dominant, and this results in stratification and associated patterns of deference.

Members of the top status rank (or ranks) are charged with the responsibility for leadership (in Greek, this is hegemonia). In the first instance, they lead by example or, more specifically, but exemplifying the personal qualities that identify them as holders of the highest ranks in society. Hegemonial rule (re)produces a status-order at every rank and, it is likely to produce resistance at lower ranks, most especially when a society’s leaders prove themselves to be incompetent, corrupt and unworthy of their status. While so-called traditional societies are typically status-ordered, it is naïve to think that self-styled modern societies have erased hegemony as a form of rule. [33]Onuf, Making Sense, Making Worlds, 182-94; Nicholas Onuf, “Recognition and the Constitution of Epochal Change,” International Relations 27, no. 2 (2013): 121-40.

2. Hierarchy is the form of rule in which directive-rules are paramount. Rule depends on a rank-order of offices assuring that these rules are carried out. Orders or commands move down the chain and information moves up. This is, of course, is the familiar Weberian model of the modern state or indeed any organization as a chain of command. When Galtung   discussed ‘linear ranking order’ as the first of his six mechanisms of structural violence, he offered no clue as to whether ranking is a sign of hegemony or hierarchy at work. Trained as a sociologist, he was from the beginning attentive to status and its implications for personal conduct.[34] As Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Aggression,” makes clear. He has been less attentive to organizational imperatives and their relevance to conduct. Nor, as far as I know, has he ever clarified whether rank merely registers the allocation of values in any dominance system or functions as a distributive mechanism.

In my view, rule, not rank, is the relevant mechanism. There is, however, a significant difference between ranks in a status-order and ranks in a chain of command. While successively higher status ranks will generally have fewer and fewer members, the number is rarely fixed and has no functional relevance for adjacent positions. Rank by rank, offices are routinely fixed in size and function; if there is an increase in size at any rank, offices will tend to be divided on functional grounds while most officers will find their rank unchanged. That the term rank is routinely used to describe status position and the place of an office in a chain of command is no accident. Status and office frequently reinforce each other—status justifies office, office protects status—and the term hierarchy is used indiscriminately for both status-orders and chains of command. Combining the Greek words for sacred (hieros) and rule (archē), the term found an important place in the celestial imagery and ecclesiastical arrangements of Western Christianity. Priestly rule combines sacralized status and formalized office. In my view, the likelihood that hegemony and hierarchy will be mutually supportive does not excuse observers from distinguishing between the kinds of rules, and forms of rule, that work in demonstrably different ways even when they are working together. I count Galtung among those observers.

3. Heteronomy is a term that I have taken from Kant’s moral philosophy. Kant distinguished between a ‘supersensible world’ to which belongs ‘the autonomy of pure reason’ and the ‘sensible world’ to which belongs ‘the heteronomy of choice.’[35]Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason, trans. Mary Gregor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), quoting 30, 38, emphasis in translation. See Onuf, World of Our Making, 212-18, for pertinent discussion. The latter is the world we live in—a social world. In the field of International Relations, the term is frequently used to describe feudal arrangements.[36] For an influential example, see John Gerard Ruggie, “Continuity and Transformation in the World Polity: Toward a Neorealist Synthesis,” in Neorealism and Its Critics, ed. Robert O. Keohane (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986), 142; John Gerard Ruggie, Constructing the World Polity: Essays on International Institutionalization (London: Routledge, 1986), 179-80. Ruggie attributed this use of the term to Friedrich Meinecke. I take the term to have a distinctively modern sense, given the preoccupation since Kant’s time with individual autonomy and egalitarian social arrangements. Commitment-rules manifest in right and duties (whether belonging to autonomous individuals or sovereign states) constitute heteronomy as a form of rule, one that creates the appearance of a spontaneous order.[37] Onuf, Making Sense, Making Worlds, 163-81.

Liberals call the exercise or rights and duties ‘the rule of law,’ exchange among putative equals a ‘self-regulating market,’ and the reciprocal commitments of a contract the constitutive basis for stable social arrangements. Joseph suggests that this condition is pretty much what Michel Foucault had come to call governmentality. ‘The majority of Foucault’s arguments about governmentality are concentrated on a specifically liberal form of rule that works, in particular, through the encouragement of free conduct, self-awareness and more generally, an appeal to the freedom of the governed.’[38]Joseph, “The Hegemony of Governmentality”. Foucault just as clearly understood that governmentality (or, as I would prefer to say, heteronomy) disguises a system of rules that disproportionately benefits some members of society. Because those few need not actively make the rules in question, they are given credit for their relative success. The result is a form of rule that liberals consider just or fair, whatever their rewards for living by the rules.

Now we can ask what form or forms of rule lend themselves to the center-periphery relation. Recall that Galtung concerned himself with the relations of nations, each of which has a center dominating its own periphery. This is a direct center-periphery relation, and not an imperialist system. The latter constitutes an indirect relation by linking the centers of center nations to the centers of peripheral nations, thereby extending domination by the center’s centers to peripheral nations’ peripheries in what we might properly call a global system. In such a system, the center’s centers reward the periphery’s centers by allowing them to take what amounts to a service charge in effectuating domination ‘all the way down’or ‘all the way out’ (depending on the imagery one prefers). As I have already argued, rule through the use of rules generally works better than other modes of domination, and we would expect this to be just as true of imperialist systems.

Extrapolating from a very wide range of societal experiences, I would further expect that an imperialist system of rule would be hegemonial in the first instance, but with significant support from a parallel hierarchy or chain of command. Insofar as we follow Galtung and speak of nations in a center-periphery relation, this is a specifically modern instance of imperialist rule. Nations are very much a modern invention, even when their inventors claim tradition as their guide. Modernization theory holds that status-ordering gives way to rationalized administration and individual rights—that is to say, hierarchy and heteronomy take   over   from hegemony.  They do not.[39] Again see Onuf, Making Sense, Making Worlds, 182-94; Onuf, “Recognition and the Constitution of Epochal Change”. Hegemony   may change its coloration and those who rule may claim that achievement trumps ascription, but status confers the capacity to rule much as it always has, falling back on the coercive mechanism of hierarchy when it needs to.

The key to hegemonial imperialism is the situation of the periphery’s centers. Holders of high status in the center reward their peripheral counterparts with status denominated in the currency of the center’s centers, effectively doubling up on the latter’s status. Many of them will find themselves full members of the center’s center. Collegial practices and egalitarian ideology (the promise of heteronomy) will reinforce the sense that one can be top dog in two worlds—center and periphery. Even if status gradations remain in place in the center’s center, and peripheral center members realize there is a ‘glass ceiling’ in the center’s center, they still have a distinct status advantage over traditional elites in their own societies, not to mention members of the centers’ peripheries. Their complicity in imperialist hegemony pays off for them and for modernity as a global status-order. Any Marxist would call this ‘false consciousness.’[40]Although Marx never used this formula and Engels did only once in a letter. But see Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1970), and Georg Lukács, History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1972).

I suggest that this global system of hegemonial imperialism is also segmented in functional terms. We may visualize it as a many-sided step-pyramid. Here Galtung’s five types become relevant. The political sphere of nations-in-relation may still rely on occasional naked force. Yet hierarchical rule through so-called spheres of influence is more pervasive. Even here institutionalized threat, ‘soft power’ and ceaseless technical innovation mitigate the resort to overt coercion retroactively validated as lawful intervention and responsibility to protect. Status considerations have effectively delivered the economic sphere into the hands of superbly educated professionals drawn from multiple centers and committed to the center’s center. Surveillance is omnipresent; advances in communication have combined with the diffusion of popular culture to pacify peripheries everywhere.

Earlier I alluded to the general tendency for organizations to divide on functional grounds as they grow in size and complexity. Functional differentiation has always been a large concern for sociologists; scholars in the field of International Relations have belatedly come to acknowledge the importance of this phenomenon.[41] Mathias Albert et al., ed., Bringing Sociology to International Relations: World Politics as Differentiation Theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013). Currently international lawyers are much interested in functional differentiation as manifest in global administrative law. For a critical assessment, see Friedrich Kratochwil, “Of Experts, Helpers and Enthusiasts,” in The Status of Law in World Society: Meditations on the Role and Rule of Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), and Kratochwil, “Cosmopolitanism, Publicity, and the Emergence of a ‘Global Administrative Law’” in The Status of Law in World Society. It should also be noted that that the proliferation of technical international organizations in the 19th century prompted an earlier wave of functionalist theorizing, now mostly forgotten. Functional differentiation within and among organizations (governments, nongovernmental organizations, multinational corporations, criminal syndicates) has sliced Galtung’s five types repeatedly in recent decades. Hegemony and hierarchy operate in tandem yet again, sliver by technically defined sliver. Specialized, certified experts belonging to high-ranking status cohorts are positioned in numerous obscure offices, where they identify problems, launch investigations and issue detailed regulations—directive-rules disguised as instructions. By this means, they rule the modern world invisibly, unaccountably.

Politics disappears into public spectacle. Most people take for granted that the relations of autonomous nation-states continue to give the world a viable structure, the legitimacy of which stems from its apparently heteronomous character. Resistance to the effects of functional differentiated status (re)ordering tends to be unfocussed, expressed as nostalgia for old ways, anger over obvious injustices and glaring inequities, and anxiety about the future. In the peripheries, the old status-order still holds sway over many of the people who benefitted least from it. They see themselves denied any meaningful status—meaningful to them—in the modern world, and they have good reason to think so.

Whether this sort of resistance can well up and disrupt the global system of apparent heteronomy, imperialist hegemony and segmented hierarchies is an open question. I suspect the answer depends less on the properties of rule in today’s world than it does on the continued capacity of the capitalist world economy to pay for such a system. Rule and rules may be cheaper than domination through the use of force. Nevertheless, hegemony on a global scale does have escalating costs, since it must pay for an increasingly monetized status-order and the proliferation of organizations that do not directly produce wealth. And this is only one reason why inequality is increasing in today’s world, Galtung’s heroic efforts notwithstanding.

Let me conclude by taking a quick look at Galtung’s career as a globe-trotting intellectual from the center’s center. As I hinted earlier, his extraordinary career would seem to illustrate the extraordinary power of hegemonial rule adapted to modern circumstances. This phenomenon prompts a large question. Is hegemony, perhaps dressed up in heteronomous conceits, a better form of rule for the planet as a whole than any of the imaginable alternatives? When I gave a talk on center-periphery relations at Bilkent University, was this another illustration of ‘good’ hegemony? After all, the event enhanced my status (in the center), just as my presence enhanced my auditors’ status (in two centers). Is the publication of this piece in All Azimuth another illustration? Or is it simply that we, as beneficiaries of hegemonial privilege, have a huge stake in believing that some sort of hegemony is best way to run a planet?

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. I presented a briefer version of this piece at the Center for Foreign Policy and Peace Research, Bilkent University, 15 April 2016. I am grateful to Ersel Aydınlı and the Turkish Fulbright Commission for making my visit possible, to Gonca Biltekin for advice, and to an engaged audience for their comments.
2. 2. Nicholas Greenwood Onuf, World of Our Making: Rules and Rule in Social Theory and International Relations (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1989); Nicholas Greenwood Onuf, Making Sense, Making Worlds: Constructivism in Social Theory and International Relations (Abingdon: Routledge, 2013), 3-20
3. 3.Onuf, Making Sense, Making Worlds, 195-212.
4. 4.Two other pieces might be added to give a fuller picture of Galtung’s theoretical concerns in this early period. Johan Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Aggression,” Journal of Peace Research 1, no. 2 (1964): 95-119, considers the social sources of personal aggression, understood as direct violence. Johan Galtung, “Feudal Systems, Structural Violence, and the Structural Theory of Revolutions,” vol. 1, International Peace Research Association Third Proceedings (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1970), 110- 88, develops many themes to be found in the two pieces under consideration in these pages. In view of its limited availability and influence (it has been cited only 27 times, once by me), I am ignoring it for present purposes.
5. Johan Galtung, “Violence, Peace and Peace Research,” Journal of Peace Research 6, no. 3 (1969): 168-70, his emphasis.
6. Galtung, “Violence, Peace and Peace Research,” 172
7. Galtung, „„Violence, Peace and Peace Research,” 176.
8. Johan Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Imperialism,” Journal of Peace Research 8, no. 2 (1971): 81-117.
9. Johan Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Imperialism‟—Ten Years Later,” typescript, n. d., accessed July 10, 2016. https://www.transcend.org/galtung/papers/A%20Structural%20Theory%20of%20Imperialism%20-%20Ten%20Years%20Later.pdf): 1
10. As reported on TRANSCEND International‟s Website, accessed July 10, 2016, https://www.transcend.org/galtung/#bio. For a complete bibliography, go to https://www.transcend.org/galtung/#publications
11. Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Imperialism,” 81, his emphasis.
12. Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Imperialism,” 81.
13. 13 Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Imperialism,” 81, his emphasis.
14. See Onuf, Making Sense, Making Worlds, 96-112, for more on this, and then see Jonathan Joseph, “Is Waltz a Realist?” International Relations 24, no. 4 (2010): 478-93.
15. See Arthur L. Stinchcombe, Constructing Social Theories (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1968): 80-101, on function as a „complex causal structure‟
16. Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Imperialism,” 85.
17. My image, not Galtung’s; “A Structural Theory of Imperialism,” 89, fig. 2, looks like a volcano viewed from above.
18. For example, Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Imperialism,” 97.
19. Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Imperialism,” 91.
20. “As used in these investigations, the concept of law has no moral connotation whatsoever. It designates a specific technique of social organization. The problem of law . . . is the problem of social technique, not a problem of morals”. Hans Kelsen, General Theory of Law and the State (New York: Russell & Russell, 1961), 5. Galtung would surely say that law is both a problem of technique and, by its nature, a moral problem.
21. Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Imperialism,” 92, table 4.
22. Galtung has since concerned himself with (con)federal systems, although in terms too sketchy to contribute to his structural theory. Johan Galtung, Peace by Peaceful Means: Peace and Conflict, Development and Civilization (London: SAGE Publications, 1996), 60-9.
23. Kelsen’s General Theory of Law and the State, just quoted, is a systematic and highly influential explication of the positivist model. Among English speakers, H. L. A. Hart’s The Concept of Law (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1960) is no doubt even more influential.
24. Nicholas Onuf, “Old Mistakes: Bourdieu, Derrida, and the ‘Force of Law’,” International Political Sociology 3, no. 4 (2010): 315-18.
25. Not all theorists use the term rule—notably members of the so-called New Haven School of ‘configurative jurisprudence’ do not. See Myres S. McDougal and Harold Lasswell, “The Identification and Appraisal of Diverse Systems of Public Order,” American Journal of International Law 53, no. 1 (1959): 1-29, where the authors use the term prescription in place of rule: “Prescription is the articulation of general requirements of conduct” (p. 9, their emphasis). They slipped just once in this piece and fell back on the term rule.
26. Onuf, World of Our Making, 66-95.
27. Johan Galtung, “Cultural Violence,” Journal of Peace Research 27, no. 3 (1990): 291-305. In this piece, he no longer spoke of mechanisms as he had earlier.
28. Paraphrasing Onuf, Making Sense, Making Worlds, 7.
29. Onuf, World of Our Making, 66-95, 196-227; Onuf, Making Sense, Making Worlds, 3-20.
30. Talcott Parsons, The Social System (New York: Free Press, 1951). For a critical discussion of loose talk about expectations and their normative status, see Nicholas Onuf, International Legal Theory: Essays and Engagements, 1966-2006 (Abingdon: Routledge-Cavendish, 2008), 443-8.
31. Onuf, World of Our Making, 161-95.
32. Jonathan Joseph, “The Hegemony of Governmentality: Towards a Research Agenda,” All Azimuth (forthcoming); Simon Reich and Richard Ned Lebow, “Influence and Hegemony: Shifting Patterns of Material and Social Power in World Politics,” All Azimuth 6, no. 1 (2017): 17-47, exemplifies this highly generalized conception of hegemony.
33. Onuf, Making Sense, Making Worlds, 182-94; Nicholas Onuf, “Recognition and the Constitution of Epochal Change,” International Relations 27, no. 2 (2013): 121-40.
34. As Galtung, “A Structural Theory of Aggression,” makes clear.
35. Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason, trans. Mary Gregor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), quoting 30, 38, emphasis in translation. See Onuf, World of Our Making, 212-18, for pertinent discussion.
36. For an influential example, see John Gerard Ruggie, “Continuity and Transformation in the World Polity: Toward a Neorealist Synthesis,” in Neorealism and Its Critics, ed. Robert O. Keohane (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986), 142; John Gerard Ruggie, Constructing the World Polity: Essays on International Institutionalization (London: Routledge, 1986), 179-80. Ruggie attributed this use of the term to Friedrich Meinecke.
37. Onuf, Making Sense, Making Worlds, 163-81.
38. Joseph, “The Hegemony of Governmentality”.
39. Again see Onuf, Making Sense, Making Worlds, 182-94; Onuf, “Recognition and the Constitution of Epochal Change”.
40. Although Marx never used this formula and Engels did only once in a letter. But see Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1970), and Georg Lukács, History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1972).
41. Mathias Albert et al., ed., Bringing Sociology to International Relations: World Politics as Differentiation Theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013). Currently international lawyers are much interested in functional differentiation as manifest in global administrative law. For a critical assessment, see Friedrich Kratochwil, “Of Experts, Helpers and Enthusiasts,” in The Status of Law in World Society: Meditations on the Role and Rule of Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), and Kratochwil, “Cosmopolitanism, Publicity, and the Emergence of a ‘Global Administrative Law’” in The Status of Law in World Society. It should also be noted that that the proliferation of technical international organizations in the 19th century prompted an earlier wave of functionalist theorizing, now mostly forgotten.

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