Relations of sovereign inequality permeate international politics, and a growing body of literature grapples with the question of how states establish and sustain hierarchy amidst anarchy. I argue that existing literature on hierarchy, for all its diverse insights, misses what makes hierarchy unique in world politics. Hierarchy is not simply the presence of inequality or stratification among actors, but rather an authority relationship in which a dominant actor exercises some modicum of control over a subordinate one. This authority relationship, moreover, is dramatically different than ones found in domestic hierarchies. It is shaped less by written laws or formal procedures, than by subtle forms of manipulation and the development of informal practices. For this reason, hierarchy cannot simply be reduced the to the dynamics of anarchy, and must be viewed as a relational phenomenon. Ties between actors create positions that permit dominant actors to appropriate and orchestrate the sharing of authority with subordinate intermediaries. This article develops this relational network approach, highlighting how concepts such as access, brokerage, and yoking can illuminate the processes by which authority is enlisted and appropriated in world politics.