China and the United States: a succession of hegemonies?

Clark, Ian (2011) China and the United States: a succession of hegemonies?. International Affairs, 87 1: 13-28. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2346.2011.00957.x

Author Clark, Ian
Title China and the United States: a succession of hegemonies?
Journal name International Affairs   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1468-2346
Publication date 2011-01-01
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1111/j.1468-2346.2011.00957.x
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 87
Issue 1
Start page 13
End page 28
Total pages 16
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Language eng
Abstract This article critically reviews the suggestion that we are experiencing a ‘succession of hegemonies’ from the United States to China. It develops Martin Wight's writings on hegemony, and introduces a fundamental distinction (not made by Wight) between a power transition and a hegemonic succession. Wight held complex views about the nature of power and at times seemed to subscribe to a purely materialist account. Elsewhere he was more nuanced and appealed to the purpose of dominant states as part of his argument that influence does not correlate exactly with mass and weight. This suggestion is developed in the author's view of hegemony—as distinct from primacy—as denoting a legitimate practice within international society. These ideas are then superimposed upon current debates about a power transition, or a succession of hegemonies, as between the United States and China. The existing debate conflates those two issues. Accordingly, while it can readily be acknowledged that there are important indicators of a shift in the material distribution of power, this in no way amounts, as yet, to any kind of hegemonic succession. For the latter to occur, there would need to be clear evidence of an effective socialization of the aspirant hegemon's purpose and support for its preferred order. On the contrary, to date China has been largely content to operate within existing frameworks, rather than instigate a revision of them, and does not yet present a model for emulation elsewhere. It is possible that a power transition, without any hegemonic succession, could be corrosive of global governance.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collection: School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 25 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 25 Jun 2014, 05:10:07 EST by Bronwyn Clare Crook on behalf of School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies