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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Chinese system of international relations in early modern East Asia: China at the center in the eyes of the periphery
by Lee, Ji-Young, Ph.D., Georgetown University, 2009, 256; 3371618
Abstract (Summary)

What explains the longevity of the China-centered international order in early modern East Asia? Why did Japan and Korea continue to stay below China in the periphery position instead of forming alliances to balance against Chinese power, especially when China was weak and divided? Contributing to the current debate on the stability of a unipolar world, the dissertation asks which domestic or international conditions bind secondary states to support the existing order at times of power transition.

My answer to the question focuses on the strategic of soft power. Building on insights from the historical institutionalist and constructivist literatures, I argue that the hegemonic structure of an international system is likely to persist longer when the hegemon’s institutional innovations are turned into sources of international authority, allowing the hegemon to use its legitimizing ideas for realpolitik purposes. A systemic model of stability reproduction is presented to elucidate how hegemonic power, ideas, and social dynamics interact with one another over time to have bearings on international order.

To test the model, I look into the system-changing challenges that could have disrupted the hierarchical structure but did not in early modern East Asia: (1) the Mongol invasions of Korea and Japan in the thirteenth century; (2) the Hideyoshi Invasions of Korea, 1592-98; and (3) the rise of the Qing Empire in the 17th century, isolating the mechanisms that glued East Asian states to the China-centered international order.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McNamara, Kathleen R.
Commitee: Bennett, Andrew, Cha, Victor D., Kang, David C., Nexon, Daniel H.
School: Georgetown University
Department: Government
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 70/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: History, International law
Keywords: Asia, China, China-centered order, Chinese empire, Early modern East Asia, Elite socialization, Hegemonic stability, International relations, Japan, Korea
Publication Number: 3371618
ISBN: 978-1-109-32925-4
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