Contesting within Order? China, socialisation, and international practice

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Debates on China’s engagement with international institutions centre on a (false) dichotomy that China is either a status-quo or revisionist power. Both sides of this debate have ample empirical evidence to support their arguments and they tend towards conclusions that China’s behaviour and preferences lie in the space in between these two positions. It is important to consider how China presents a contest to international order from with international institutions.

This article examines the question: What is China being socialised into? Drawing on the international practices literature, this paper unpacks the types of norms that China may be being socialised into. It makes the argument that China has been successfully socialised into the practices of international institutions – the ways the bureaucracies work and can be used to achieve political goals – and pluralist-liberal global norms, but incompletely into solidarist liberal norms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-133
Number of pages29
JournalCambridge Review of International Affairs
Issue number1
Early online date3 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • China
  • International order
  • International practice
  • Sanctions
  • North Korea


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