Julian Culp / Johannes Plagemann

Hooray for Global Justice? Emerging Democracies in a Multipolar World

GIGA Working Paper, No. 242, December 2013

Rising powers are fundamentally shifting the relations of power in the global economic and political landscape. International political theory, however, has so far failed to evaluate this nascent multipolarity. This article fills this lacuna by synthesizing empirical and normative modes of inquiry. It examines the transformation of sovereignty exercised by emerging democracies and shows that – in stark contrast to emerging democracies’ foreign policy rhetoric – the "softening" of sovereignty has become the norm. The present paper assesses this softening of sovereignty on the basis of a "democratic‐internationalist" conception of global justice. This conception holds that global justice demands the establishment of reasonably democratic transnational relations that enable people themselves to determine what else justice requires. Because we find that the exercise of soft sovereignty by emerging democracies contributes to the realization of reasonably democratic transnational relations, we conclude that this nascent multipolarity ought to be welcomed from the democratic‐internationalist view of global justice.

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GIGA Authors

Dr. Johannes Plagemann

Research Fellow
Speaker Research Team

Dr. Johannes Plagemann is a political scientist and a research fellow at the GIGA Institute of Asian Studies. He is the spokesperson of the research team “Ideas and Agency” at the GIGA and coordinator of the DFG-funded research project “Legitimate Multipolarity” (2018–2021). Dr. Plagemann works on rising powers in international politics, and Indian foreign policy in particular. In his latest research he focuses on how populism affects foreign policy, as well as on the legitimacy of international organisations in a multipolar world.

Recent Publications by the Authors

Sangeeta Mahapatra / Johannes Plagemann

Polarisation and Politicisation: The Social Media Strategies of Indian Political Parties

GIGA Focus Asia, 03/2019

Johannes Plagemann / Sandra Destradi

What Modi teaches us about populist foreign policy

East Asia Forum, 2019

Johannes Plagemann / Sandra Destradi

Populism and Foreign Policy: The Case of India

Foreign Policy Analysis, 15, 2019, 2, 283-301

Nicola Nymalm / Johannes Plagemann

Comparative Exceptionalism: Universality and Particularity in Foreign Policy Discourses

International Studies Review, 21, 2019, 1, 12–37