Ideas of Social Order in the Ancient World

Front Cover
Greenwood Press, Jan 1, 1998 - Political Science - 252 pages

Harle focuses on the perennial issue of social order by providing a comparative analysis of ideas on social order in the classical Chinese political philosophy, the Indian epic and political literature, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, the classical Greek and Roman political thought, and early Christianity. His analysis is based on the religious, political, and literary texts that represent their respective civilizations as both their major achievements and sources of shared values.

Harle maintains that two major approaches to establishing and maintaining social order exist in all levels and types of social relations: moral principles and political power. According to the principle-oriented approaches, social order will prevail if and when people follow strict moral principles. According to the contending power-oriented approach, orderly relations can only be based on the application of power by the ruler over the ruled. The principle-oriented approaches introduce a comprehensive civil society of individuals; the power-oriented approaches give major roles to the city-state, its government and relationships between them. The question of morality can be recognized also within the power-oriented approaches which either submit politics to morality or maintain that politics must be taken as nothing else than politics. This book is a contribution to peace and international studies as well as political theory and international relations.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


International Theory and Social Order in Civilizational Thought
PrincipleOriented Patterns of Social Order
Dharma and Caste as the Basis of Social Order

10 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

About the author (1998)

VILHO HARLE is Professor of International Relations at University of Lapland in Finland. /e He was a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for International Studies, the London School of Economics in 1996-1997. He has published and edited more than ten books and journal issues as well as a number of articles in scientific journals.

Bibliographic information