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Durham University

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Publication details for Prof Robert H. Layton

Layton, R.H. (2006). Order and anarchy: civil society, social disorder and war. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Author(s) from Durham


Argues against the view that the Capitalist market economy is uniquely conducive to the creation of civil society. Shows that Locke and Ferguson identified civil society with social co-operation based on rational self-
interest in all human societies. Draws on Darwinian theory to represent the evolution of social systems and the environments in which they are situated. Criticises claims for a direct evolutionary link between chimpanzee inter-group aggression and human warfare.


'Layton's large themes - the conditions of civil society, the sources of social order and of its breakdown, the biological and cultural arguments surrounding warfare - are all handled with a rare economy and considerable theoretical rigour. This is a bold and challenging work that will attract much attention from social scientists and others.' Krishan Kumar, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology, University of Virginia