Hegemony and international relations
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The paper interrogates the current state of the art in hegemony analysis in international relations (IR). First, I discuss the limitations of using IR theories as a point of departure for analysing the phenomenon of hegemony in world politics. Second, I identify the ‘agent-structure problematique’ and ‘critical realism’ as two different waves of hegemony theorising and examine their contributions and limitations. Then I offer an outline of how we can move beyond the current state of the art, in order to develop a more comprehensive framework of analysing hegemony. Focusing on the multiple movements of power within a hegemonic order, the paper advances a conceptualisation of hegemony as a complex power ecology—a dynamic order that draws on multiple and conflicting social forces and temporalities, which, in the final analysis, denote an existential battle for determining desire and the meaning of life.
KeywordsTheories of hegemony Hegemonic order Hegemonic power Hegemony English school Critical realism Gramsci Social change
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