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South Africa – an emerging power? : A qualitative text analysis of South Africa’s role in the international system

  • Nilsson, Linnea
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2020
DiVA - Academic Archive On-line
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Despite a comprehensive research of South Africa’s power status, the available literature does not provide a satisfactory explanation of whether South Africa is an emerging power or not. Countries in the Global South with a vigorous economic growth are often offhandedly assigned an emerging power status. Since power is built on more than economics, more specific indicators of how to measure South Africa’s power status need to be applied, in order to draw legitimate conclusions about whether it is an emerging power or not, which this study aims to do. When South Africa’s power status is identified, the observance of changes in international power distribution and understanding of powerful states’ influence on the international arena may increase. It may also be easier to predict how their power statuses can favour or disfavour other countries. This investigation is conducted through a qualitative text analysis and a single case study with a deductive approach. South Africa’s power status is analysed through the glasses of the analytical framework of Sven Biscop and Thomas Renard’s “seven dimensions of power”. The findings suggest that South Africa is an emerging power, since the country succeeds in five out of seven dimensions of power, and partly succeeds in two dimensions, but has also made a great progress in most power dimensions.

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