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  • 1.
    Boin, Arjen
    et al.
    Swedish National Defence College, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Political Science Section.
    Rhinard, Mark
    Swedish National Defence College, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Political Science Section.
    Managing Transboundary Crises: what Role for the European Union?2008In: International Studies Review, ISSN 1521-9488, E-ISSN 1468-2486, Vol. 10, no 1, p. 1-26Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 2.
    Friedner Parrat, Charlotta
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Military Studies, Tactical Warfare Division, Maritime Operations Section.
    Change in International Society: How not to Recreate the 'First Debate' of International Relations2019In: International Studies Review, ISSN 1521-9488, E-ISSN 1468-2486Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The English school of international relations is in large parts focused on the study of historical change; at the same time, however, it is remarkably unclear on how to understand change in between the idealist belief in progress and the realist eternal cycles of recurrence. This article seeks to avoid this dead end by questioning the school's understanding of change as a commonsensical concept. It is argued that change would be better understood as composed of three facets: one ontological (what is change?), one explanatory (what causes change?), and one normative (is change desirable?). This metatheoretical reconceptualization of change permits cross-checking the three facets against each other for internal coherence, but most importantly, it makes visible the underlying assumptions used to study change, so that ideas of history, causes, and normative ideals can be openly scrutinized, questioned, and defended rather than treated as self-evident. The resulting suggestion of an internally metatheoretically coherent understanding of change in international society signifies a much-needed addition to the English school tool-kit. It brings a promise of a significant metatheoretical overhaul of the theory, which, if taken up, will open up new horizons for the school. In addition, it opens up similar metatheoretical inquiries into other international relations theories’ views of change.

  • 3.
    Hagström, Linus
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Political Science Section, Sektionen för säkerhet. Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Sweden.
    Nordin, Astrid
    Lancaster University China Centre, Lancaster University, United Kingdom; Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Sweden.
    China's “Politics of Harmony” and the Quest for Soft Power in International Politics2019In: International Studies Review, ISSN 1521-9488, E-ISSN 1468-2486, p. 1-19, article id viz023Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article engages with China's “politics of harmony” to investigate the dangers and possibilities of soft power as a concept and practice. Chinese sources claim that China will be able to exercise soft power due to its tradition of thinking about harmony. Indeed, the concept of harmony looms large in Chinese soft power campaigns, which differentiate China's own harmonious soft power from the allegedly disharmonious hard power of other great powers—in particular Western powers and Japan. Yet, similarly dichotomizing harmony discourses have been employed precisely in the West and Japan. In all three cases, such harmony discourses set a rhetorical trap, forcing audiences to empathize and identify with the “harmonious” self or risk being violently “harmonized.” There is no doubt that the soft power of harmony is coercive. More importantly, the present article argues that it has legitimized and enabled oppressive, homogenizing, and bellicose expansionism and rule in the West and Japan. A similarly structured exercise of soft power may enable violence in and beyond China, too. Ultimately, however, we argue that China's own tradition of thinking about harmony may help us to theorize how soft power might be exercised in less antagonistic and violent ways.

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