Trends of Scholarship in the Study of the Politics and International Relations of Contemporary China
This paper considers recent trends in the study of the politics and international relations of contemporary China. It suggests that changes in the focus of research have tended to reactively follow changes in policy - for example, the recent focus on China’s resource diplomacy. Notwithstanding an increasing diversity of theoretical positions, dominant approaches still focus on the state as the main actor in international relations, and tend to separate the domestic from the international as independent spheres of enquiry. In order to fully understand the complex dynamics of change within China, and to gain a realistic understanding of Chinese power in world politics, the paper calls for a reconnection between the domestic and the international. It also suggests that a focus on ideational change and the changing nature of class formation (and alliances) should not be overlooked by those searching for political change in the domestic sphere.
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