Knockin' on Heaven's door: Russia, Central Asia and the mediated expansion of international society

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Within the English School of International Relations the expansion of European International Society has always been regarded as an essentially European, western enterprise. However, the role that the Russian Empire played in expanding the institutions of international society into Central Asia remains quite neglected. By analysing primary sources and contemporary discourses about Russia's civilisational status in the 19th century, this paper discusses the penetration of the Russian Empire in Central Asia in a socio-historical perspective, and argues that in the process of the expansion Russia's Asiatic past weakened its status as a European power, and the value of its colonial enterprise. Using English School categories, this paper considers Russia as 'a periphery in the centre', and as a 'less civilised civiliser' in European International Society. In doing so, this paper seeks to explore an alternative way for the diffusion of norms and institutions of international society different from those of European 'expansion' or 'inclusion': that of 'mediated expansion'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-836
Number of pages20
JournalMillennium: Journal of International Studies
Issue number3
Early online date5 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Abject
  • Central Asia
  • Europe
  • International society
  • Mediated expansion
  • Russia


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