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The rise of China and the liberal international order : how is the rise of China challenging the practices and ideology of the liberal international order?

  • Jones, Catherine Michele
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2013
OpenGrey Repository


This thesis explores the challenge that the rise of an illiberal state - China - presents to the current liberal international order. The existing literature on rising powers would lead to expectations that China will either challenge or seek to maintain the international regimes, practices and institutions that comprise the current international order. In particular it would be expected that as an illiberal power China would be expected to challenge the practices or regimes that espouse liberal concepts and promote greater liberalisation of both politics and economics. Taking these possibilities seriously, this thesis argues that it is possible for China to challenge ,some elements of international order whilst maintaining others: challenge does not necessitate or imply destructive revolution or conflict, and maintenance does not imply acquiescence or an absence of change. In presenting this possibility it looks at the ways the current international order is liberal and how that liberalism is expressed in the interpretations of sovereignty applied through debates and practices of the United Nations Security Council, and the methods and practices that pursue international development. It explores these two central elements that form the bedrock of the liberal international order by setting out possible tools to create normative change; through the interpretation or re-interpretation of norms and practices. The theoretical and empirical chapters highlight the possible variation in the expressions of agency that are available to great powers, suggesting that there are several tools available to agents to challenge international order, there are also several ways for rising powers' agency to be seen or obscured in changes taking place. / EThOS - Electronic Theses Online Service / GB / United Kingdom

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