Skip to main content Accessibility help
A Relational Theory of World Politics
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 19
  • Export citation
  • Recommend to librarian
  • Buy the print book

Book description

Drawing on Chinese cultural and philosophical traditions, this book offers a ground breaking reinterpretation of world politics from Yaqing Qin, one of China's leading scholars of international relations. Qin has pioneered the study of constructivism in China and developed a variant of this approach, arguing that culture defined in terms of background knowledge nurtures social theory and enables theoretical innovation. Building upon this argument, this book presents the concept of 'relationality', shifting the focus from individual actors to the relations amongst actors. This ontology of relations examines the unfolding processes whereby relations create the identities of actors and provide motivations for their actions. Appealing to scholars of international relations theory, social theory and Chinese political thought, this exciting new concept will be of particular interest to those who are seeking to bridge Eastern and Western approaches for a truly global international relations project.


‘With this path-breaking book Yaqing Qin's stature as China's leading scholar of international relations has shifted to a position of global intellectual leadership. Embodying the deep background knowledge of Sinic civilization, relationality is the book's core construct. Scholars who think that rationality rules the world, take note: this book signals the arrival of a truly global discipline of international relations.'

Peter J. Katzenstein - Walter S. Carpenter, Jr, Professor of International Studies, Cornell University

‘Qin's work is a landmark in the creation of a truly global discipline of IR. He makes the case that culture necessarily shapes social theory, and backs this up with explanations of ‘the Chinese way of thinking' about social order. He assesses mainstream Western IR theory with a knowledgeable and penetrating outsider's eye, and sets out his own contrasting and complementary relational theory based on Confucian norms and practices. This book will change the way you think about IR theory and its potential development.'

Barry Buzan - London School of Economics and Political Science

‘A Relational Theory of World Politics masterfully blends contemporary IR theory with Chinese history and ideas. It is an original and path-breaking catalyst for moving the field of IR beyond its traditional Western centric concepts and theories towards a Global IR.'

Amitav Acharya - American University, Washington DC

'Finally we have a full-length English language book outlining the theorisation of world politics by one of China’s most influential and interesting scholars! A must read for anyone interested in global international relations theorising, Chinese traditions of thought, or Chinese foreign relations.'

Astrid Nordin - Lancaster University

'Overall, this book makes a considerable contribution to the global IR literature, which is still considered immature, and will be well received by its intended audience: academics and IR students with a background knowledge of IR theory. The book also provides a reference for those who wish to understand China’s role in IR theory.'

Özge Taylan Source: Rising Powers Quarterly

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to Dropbox
  • Send to Google Drive

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.


  • 1 - Social Theory and the Multicultural World
    pp 3-24


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed