Sandra Destradi

Empire, Hegemony, and Leadership: Developing a Research Framework for the Study of Regional Powers

GIGA Working Paper, No. 79, June 2008

Abstract
Regional powers are often conceived of as "regional leading powers," states which adopt a cooperative and benevolent attitude in their international relations with their neighbors. The paper argues that regional powers can follow a much wider range of foreign policy strategies in their region. Three ideal-typical regional strategies are identified: empire, hegemony, and leadership. The paper is devoted to a theory-led distinction and clarification of these three terms, which are often used interchangeably in the field of international relations. According to the goals pursued, to the means employed, and to other discriminating features such as the degree of legitimation and the type of self-representation by the dominant state, the paper outlines the essential traits of imperial, hegemonic, and leading strategies and identifies subtypes for better classifying hegemony and leadership.

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Prof. Dr. Sandra Destradi is a professor of International Relations and ­Regional Governance at Helmut Schmidt University / University of the Federal Armed ­Forces Hamburg and the head of GIGA Research Programme 4: Power and Ideas.

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