David Mitrany, Romania and the Search for a New European Order: Lessons for Today

Michael Cox and Lucian Ashworth discuss Mitrany's impact on international relations and how his Romanian origins influenced his thinking.

David Mitrany (1888–1975) was a Romanian-born, naturalized British scholar, historian and political theorist who studied at the LSE and is best known today for his work on international functionalism, an idea which influenced the development of European integration and the organisation of United Nations specialised agencies after World War II.  

What is often ignored in the West is his work on South-East Europe. During the inter-war period Mitrany studied both the operation of war government and the subsequent peasant revolution in the Balkans. War government demonstrated that political organisation could bridge the gap between social action and private property, while the peasant social revolution showed that the abstract economics associated with both capitalist and Marxist economics was not applicable outside of urban industrial production. It was through his studies of South-East Europe that Mitrany drew many of the lessons and concepts that were to form the foundations of his international theory.



Event recorded 20 October 2020.


Lucian Ashworth is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Memorial University. His main area of research interest is the history of international thought. He is the author of A History of International Thought (London: Routledge, 2014). He has written several pieces on David Mitrany, most recently an article on Mitrany and the concept of anarchy for the Journal of International Political Theory in 2017.

Michael Cox is a Founding Director of LSE IDEAS and an Emeritus Professor in International Relations at LSE.

Spyros Economides is Associate Professor in International Relations and European Politics at LSE and Deputy Director of the Hellenic Observatory.

Event hashtag: #LSEMitrany

This event is co-hosted by LSE IDEAS and the Ratiu Forum.

LSE IDEAS (@lseideas) is LSE's foreign policy think tank. We connect academic knowledge of diplomacy and strategy with the people who use it.