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Is There a “Chinese School” of IR?

GIGA Working Paper, No. 188, March 2012

Research on Chinese International Relations (IR) theory has produced a variety of discourses, including post‐positivist analyses, contributions by area specialists and China watchers, and articles by Chinese IR scholars. These strands, however, hardly overlap or communicate with each other. To close the gap between "the self‐reflection of the core" ("Western" IR) (Waever/Tickner 2009: 3) and "the periphery’s revolt against ["Western"] IR" paradigms (ibid.), it is necessary to view China (and other non‐"Western" regions) as more than simply a playground for theory testing. This paper thus goes beyond the metatheoretical debate about the possibility of non‐"Western" IR. It argues that even though the IR debates in China are heavily influenced by the trends of “Western” IR Studies, the claim regarding the establishment of a "Chinese school of IR" is not a hollow slogan. Indigenous frameworks are already under construction.

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