About the Lecture:
Studies of China’s role in the global order at times slip too easily into dichotomised opposing perceptions over China’s “revisionist” or “status quo” inclinations and objectives. In reality, no single Chinese position exists that holds true across the different policy domains. Or put another way, Chinese dissatisfaction with existing dominant norms and a desire to challenge and/or change them is greater in some issue areas than in others. Moreover, the nature of the current global order, the power shifts that are taking place within it, and the lack of a clear ordering moment mean that Chinese capabilities to push for change vary over different issue areas too. Nevertheless, despite this differential position, the combined impact of different Chinese positions does have an aggregate overall impact on the normative basis of the current global order. Whilst there has been some buy-in to Chinese positions in some areas, the main significance (to date) is in undermining the universalist claims of others, and even potentially challenging the very understanding of universalism per se. The result might not be a clearly identified alternative Chinese normative global order, but instead one where China provides an alternative – both materially and ideationally – to the liberal norms and policy preferences favoured and promoted by others.
About the Speaker:
Shaun Breslin is Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick, and co-editor of The Pacific Review. Having first studied in China in 1984, he has spent the last thirty years trying to understand the political economy of contemporary China and China’s place in the world. He also has a side interest in comparative studies of regional integration processes. From October 2017 he holds a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship that will focus on the linkeages between China’s domestic economy, and the nature of China as a Great Power.