Culture, Diplomacy and Power Transition

Gaskarth, Jamie (2022). Culture, Diplomacy and Power Transition. In: Knudsen, Tonny and Navari, Cornelia eds. Power Transition and Institutional Change - Contours of a New World Order. Basingstoke: Palgrave (In Press).

Abstract

The concept of culture has re-emerged in discussion of international society, having for some time been dismissed as ethnocentric or culturally essentialist. By contrast, this chapter asserts that identifying how culture coheres understanding is important to considering the effect power transitions will have on the future workings of international society. Whilst there is immense variation within and across cultures, social groups orient their cultural expression, via social institutions, and this can give rise to different patterns of understandings that have real world effects. To illustrate this, we look at how the individual can be perceived in terms of the self, styles of interaction, values, and goals in varying cultural contexts. We conclude by asserting that culture matters and should be foregrounded as a central organising concept in international society.

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