1st Edition

The Guanxi of Relational International Theory

By Emilian Kavalski Copyright 2018
    138 Pages
    by Routledge

    138 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book offers a relational theory of International Relations (IR). To show the ways in which the relationality is foreshadowed in IR conversations it makes the following three points:

    1) it recovers a mode of IR theorizing as itinerant translation;

    2) it deploys the concept and practices of guanxi (employed here as a heuristic device revealing the infinite capacity of international interactions to create and construct multiple worlds) to uncover the outlines of a relational IR theorizing; and

    3) it demonstrates that relational theorizing is at the core of projects for worlding IR.

    By engaging with the phenomenon of relationality, Emilian Kavalski invokes the complexity of possible worlds and demonstrates new possibilities for powerful ethical-political innovations in IR theorizing. Thus, relational IR theorizing emerges as an optic which both acknowledges the agency of ‘others’ in the context of myriad interpretative intersections of people, powers, and environments (as well as their complex histories, cultures, and agency) and stimulates awareness of the dynamically-intertwined contingencies through which meanings are generated contingently through interactions in communities of practice.

    The book will have a strong appeal to the broad academic readership in Asian Studies, Political Science, Comparative Politics, International Relations theory and students and scholars of non-/post-Western International Relations and non-/post-Western Political Thought.

    Introduction: The Columbus Syndrome of International Relations

    Chapter 1: A Relational Dance or a Scripted Concert of Vienna?

    Chapter 2: The Relational Turns in the Anglosphere and SInosphere of International Relations

    Chapter 3: The Guanxi of Relationality

    Conclusion: A Relational Theory of International Relations beyond the Eurocentric Frame


    Emilian Kavalski is the Li Dak Sum Chair Professor in China-Eurasia Relations and International Studies at the University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China. Previously he was Associate Professor of Global Studies at the Institute for Social Justice, Australian Catholic University. Emilian's research focusses on post-colonial literature, European politics, International Theory, Asian affairs, and the post-humanities.

    "Major Asian powers’ contextual modes of inquiry are progressively shaping how international relations are and should be governed. Kavalski’s timely contribution puts ‘relational IR theorizing’ – whose roots and applications are truly universal – back on the agenda. His brave and non-essentialist account genuinely engages in a dialogue between Western- and non-Western IR approaches that complement each other in grasping and managing the complexity of ‘global life’ in the new world order. " - Matthias Vanhullebusch, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Author of Global Governance, Conflict and China (2018)

    "Emilian Kavalski critically assesses the way the 1815 ‘Congress of Vienna’ has shaped Western Europe’s perception of the world, and shows how China’s re-emergence on the global stage challenges the way we usually make sense of this country’s foreign policy. This is a thought-provoking work that shakes the fundaments of the field of international relations studies as it exists today." - Bart Dessein, Ghent University, Belgium