Globalisation by Other Means? Hegemonic Continuance and Rising Powers – A Framework of Analysis

Terry McDonald, Benjamin Klasche, Marko Juutinen, Giovanni Barbieri, Gabriel Rached


This paper engages in conceptual and theoretical debates about the dynamics of continuance and conflict in contemporary globalisation. Its particular focus – shaped by an invitation to write on these themes by the editors of the East-West Studies Journal – is on the question of hegemonic continuance and the role of rising powers in laying down the settings of future globalisation. These questions are operationalised through a discussion of five different but overlapping perspectives. The first two perspectives focus on evidence about systemic continuance or resilience: (1) that liberal economic order remains largely unchallenged and that thus, the liberal economic order is likely to remain even if the political norms that underpin the liberal order are heavily constrained, (2) that economic globalisation continues to be driven by market rationality, and so far new institutions have been more supplementary than direct challenges. The two following perspectives, on the other hand, put more emphasis on the elements of conflict. The third (3) perspective points out the rising discontent with global governance not only from rising powers but also and particularly from the US, emphasising that the question of how the US will relate to the changing power relations in the world is of crucial importance to the resilience of the current system. The fourth (4) perspective brings in the concept of geo-economics, arguing that one key factor in the systemic continuance of the liberal order has been that of realism and that China has more recently taken up the leading role. Finally, the fifth (5) section seeks to go beyond these perspectives and asks the relevant question about whether we should not seek alternative ways to examine international relations (IR), especially the need to include voices from outside the traditional centres of power. In sum, the article sets out the possible frames through which IR as a discipline will present the coming changes in the arc of globalisation, and what they will mean for the field as a whole.

Keywords: globalisation, China, USA, geo-economics, international relations.

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