One of a number of ways of looking at the nature of hegemony as a mechanism within international politics is to use history as the laboratory. In this way we can look back at previous eras and see how hegemony was employed at the international level during different stages of history. Several writers have used history to show that certain eras have been marked by specific dominant characteristics. Furthermore, as Luke Ashworth’s excellent survey of the study of particular eras of dominant thought within international society demonstrates, the discipline of international relations (IR) has often not been particularly vigorous or accurate in its historical analysis (Ashworth 2014). Studies of hegemony have generally been more rigorous in their historical analysis than others, however. Some have argued that this shows how one dominant state can create a system in its own image in order to build a stable world environment (Keohane 1984; Gilpin 1987; Watson 1992). At the same time, historical accounts have also been used that focus more on ideology or class formation when looking at the common characteristics of a specific order (van der Pijl 1984; Cox 1987; Murphy 1994). At all levels, studies have focused on the nature, unity and stability of a certain order. In particular, they have examined whether a strong state or ideology existed to make it stable or coherent enough for sustainability within that period of time.
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