Formation of the Chinese School of International Relations: Analytical Approaches and Research Methods

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In 1987, the first All-China Conference of international scholars took place in Shanghai, which is associated with the beginning of the process of creating the Chinese School of International Relations. Over these decades, a vast array of scientific literature has accumulated, exploring the interaction China with other countries and world community. The article is devoted to the study of analytical approaches prevailing in the Chinese academic environment in the study of foreign policy and world politics of the PRC, and specifically, in relation to the United States. Deng Xiaoping’s “reform and openness” policy contributed to the revival of the discipline of “international relations” and the intensification of international research in academic institutions and universities in China. A deep and systemic influence on these processes was exerted by several factors: uncritical borrowing of western international political knowledge, full-scale training of Chinese scholars in Western, mainly American, universities, and the translation into Chinese of most theoretical works of Western scientists. Methodological tools which include the analytical approaches used by Chinese scientists are taken from publications on realism, liberalism and constructivism. In realism, the emphasis is done on the balance of power, which is investigated in the framework of foreign policy analysis. The interdependence of China and the United States, primarily economic, the subject of study from the point of view of neoliberalism. The socialization and involvement of China in the world community and the liberal world order led by the United States are constructivist studies of bilateral relations. Yan Xuetong’s “theory of moral realism”, Qin Yaqing’s “theory of relations”, the Shanghai school’s “international symbiosis”, and Tan Shiping’s “social evolution of world politics” did not go beyond these paradigms, but are already used as their own innovative methods in a study of China’s relations with external actors. The article pays special attention to the dual identity of the Chinese state, as a developing country and a global power, which is publicly voiced by its representatives. This duality imposes regulatory restrictions on the use of analytical tools and, of course, affects the results of research.

About the authors

Evgeny Nikolayevich Grachikov

RUDN University

Author for correspondence.

PhD (Political Sciences), Associate Professor of Department of Theory and History of International Relations

Moscow, Russian Federation


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Copyright (c) 2019 Grachikov E.N.

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