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Legitimizing hierarchy in international politics: The case of the “The Asia-Pacific Epistemic Community”
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science. Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9689-0188
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Many states partially relinquish sovereignty in return for physical protection from a more powerful state. Mainstream theory on international hierarchies holds that such decisions are based on rational assessments of the relative qualities of the political order being offered. Such assessments, however, are bound to be contingent, and as such a reflection of the power to shape understandings of reality. Through a study of the remarkably persistent US-led security hierarchy in East Asia, this article puts forward the concept of the “epistemic community” as a general explanation of how such understandings are shaped and, hence, why states accept subordinate positions in international hierarchies. The article conceptualizes a transnational and multidisciplinary network of experts on international security—The Asia-Pacific Epistemic Community—and demonstrates how it operates to convince East Asian policymakers that the current US-led social order is the best choice for maintaining regional “stability.” The role of this community is illustrated using the recent US “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific—the biggest reinforcement of US security hierarchy in the region since the 1960s.

National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-129811OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-129811DiVA: diva2:925246
Available from: 2016-05-01 Created: 2016-05-01 Last updated: 2016-05-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Waiting for the rising power: China’s rise in East Asia and the evolution of great power politics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Waiting for the rising power: China’s rise in East Asia and the evolution of great power politics
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Many political scientists expect the advent of rising states to bring about shifts in the international distribution of power, on the one hand, and competitive policies to improve one state’s power relative to a targeted state or coalition, known as “balancing,” on the other. Focusing on China’s rise in East Asia in 1993–2016, this dissertation challenges both these assumptions and offers a reassessment of the links between rising states, power shifts, and balancing in international relations. First, I demonstrate that the gap between the United States and China in exercising control over the security and alignment policies of secondary states has become wider, not narrower. Second, to explain this, I present two new mechanisms that reduce shifts in power from established to rising powers: the power effects of expertise and the anti-power effects of status seeking. Third, I show that there has been much less balancing from both China and Japan than is commonly assumed. Fourth, under certain conditions—dominant moderate policy discursive positions and status seeking with the objective of peer-recognition—I have demonstrated that enmity is able to coexist with policies of non-balancing and even accommodation. Finally, by revealing tacit but fundamental differences in the purposes for which scholars employ the balancing concept, I reconcile some of the disagreements about whether balancing is taking place in the wake of China’s rise.

Abstract [sv]

Avhandlingen studerar de internationella följderna av Kinas uppgång i Östasien från 1993 till 2016. Den består av fem fristående uppsatser och en kappa. En grupp av främst icke-västliga så kallade uppstigande stater, vilka kännetecknas av växande ekonomier och en potential för avsevärt internationellt inflytande, präglar den samtida världspolitiken. Många statsvetare har förväntat sig att utvecklingen kommer att leda till att den internationella maktfördelningen förändras och att stater kommer att “balansera”, det vill säga försöka förbättra sin makt relativt till en specifik annan stat eller koalition. Jag utmanar båda dessa antaganden och omvärderar därmed relationen mellan uppstigande stater, maktskiften, och balansering i internationell politik. Analysen visar att USA:s försprång gentemot Kina i inflytande över andra östasiatiska länders säkerhets- och allianspolitik har ökat, snarare än minskat. För att förklara detta presenterar jag två nya mekanismer som motverkar maktskiften mellan etablerande och uppstigande stater: experters makt över säkerhetspolitik, vilket antas gynna etablerade stater, och de negativa makteffekterna av statussökande, vilket antas missgynna uppstigande stater. Jag åskådliggör vidare att både Japan och Kina har balanserat betydligt mindre än vad många har förväntat sig. Avhandlingen pekar ut två omständigheter som möjliggör osämja att samexistera med icke-balansering och till och med en politik som ökar rivalens makt: dominans av inhemska röster som strävar att avpolitisera otrygghet inför rivalen, och statussökande med målet till erkännande av jämbördighet. Slutligen så visar jag att debatten om balansering missgynnas av outtalade men grundläggande skillnader i hur forskare använder konceptet. Genom att klargöra dessa olika syften så kan många av kontroverserna i debatten om balansering i följderna av Kinas uppgång redas ut.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Political Science, 2016. 57, 36 p.
Series
Stockholm studies in politics, ISSN 0346-6620 ; 168
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-129819 (URN)978-91-7649-394-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-06-09, hörsal 11 hus F, Universitetsvägen 10 F, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 5: Manuscript.

Available from: 2016-05-17 Created: 2016-05-02 Last updated: 2016-05-17Bibliographically approved

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