Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Defending Hierarchy from the Moon to the Indian Ocean: Symbolic Capital and Political Dominance in Early Modern China and the Cold War

  • Paul Musgrave and Daniel H. Nexon
Abstract

Why do leading actors invest in costly projects that they expect will not yield appreciable military or economic benefits? We identify a causal process in which concerns about legitimacy produce attempts to secure dominance in arenas of high symbolic value by investing wealth and labor into unproductive (in direct military and economic terms) goods and performances. We provide evidence for our claims through a comparative study of the American Project Apollo and the Ming Dynasty's treasure fleets. We locate our argument within a broader constructivist and practice-theoretic understanding of hierarchy and hegemony. We build on claims that world politics is a sphere of complex social stratification by viewing constituent hierarchies in terms of social fields. Our specific theory and broader framework, we contend, provide tools for understanding the workings of power politics beyond military and economic competition.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Defending Hierarchy from the Moon to the Indian Ocean: Symbolic Capital and Political Dominance in Early Modern China and the Cold War
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Defending Hierarchy from the Moon to the Indian Ocean: Symbolic Capital and Political Dominance in Early Modern China and the Cold War
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Defending Hierarchy from the Moon to the Indian Ocean: Symbolic Capital and Political Dominance in Early Modern China and the Cold War
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
References
Hide All
Acharya, Amitav. 2014. Global International Relations (IR) and Regional Worlds. International Studies Quarterly 58 (4):647–59.
Adler-Nissen, Rebecca. 2008. The Diplomacy of Opting Out: A Bourdieudian Approach to National Integration Strategies. Journal of Common Market Studies 46 (3):663–84.
Adler-Nissen, Rebecca. 2014. Stigma Management in International Relations: Transgressive Identities, Norms, and Order in International Society. International Organization 68 (1):143–76.
Adler-Nissen, Rebecca, and Pouliot, Vincent. 2014. Power in Practice: Negotiating the International Intervention in Libya. European Journal of International Relations 20 (4):889911.
Agathangelou, Anna M., and Ling, Lily H.M.. 2009. Transforming World Politics: From Empire to Multiple Worlds. New York: Routledge.
Arnoldi, Jakob. 2007. Universities and the Public Recognition of Expertise. Minerva 45 (1):4961.
Avant, Deborah, and Westerwinter, Oliver, eds. 2016. The New Power Politics: Networks and Transnational Security Governance. New York: Oxford.
Barder, Alexander D. 2016. International Hierarchy. The International Studies Encyclopedia, Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.
Barfield, Thomas J. 1989. The Perilous Frontier: Nomadic Empires and China, 221 BC to AD 1757. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.
Barkawi, Tarak, and Laffey, Mark. 1999. The Imperial Peace: Democracy, Force and Globalization. European Journal of International Relations 5 (4):403–34.
Barkin, J. Samuel. 2003. Realist Constructivism. International Studies Review 5 (3):325–42.
Barnhart, Joslyn. 2016. Status Competition and Territorial Aggression: Evidence from the Scramble for Africa. Security Studies 25 (3):385419.
Baron, Ilan Zvi. 2014. The Continuing Failure of International Relations and the Challenges of Disiplinary Boundaries. Millennium 43 (1):224–44.
Barr, Michael. 2012. How Chinese Identity Politics Shapes Its Depictions of Europe. Review of European Studies 4 (3):4553.
Bennett, Andrew, and Checkel, Jeffrey T.. 2014. Process Tracing: From Philosophical Roots to Best Practices. In Process Tracing: From Metaphor to Analytic Tool, edited by Bennett, Andrew and Checkel, Jeffrey T., 338. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Berling, Trine Villumsen. 2012. Bourdieu, International Relations, and International Security. Theory and Society 41 (5):451–78.
Bially Mattern, Janice. 2004. Ordering International Politics; Identity, Crisis and Representational Force. New York: Routledge.
Bially Mattern, Janice, and Zarakol, Ayşe. 2016. Hierarchies in World Politics. International Organization 70 (3):623–54.
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1986. The Forms of Capital. In Handbook for Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education, edited by Richardson, John G., 241–58. New York: Greenwood Press.
Bourdieu, Pierre, and Wacquant, Loïc J. 1992. An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Bull, Hedley 1977. The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics. London: Macmillan.
Bukovansky, Mlada. 2002. Legitimacy and Power Politics: The American and French Revolutions in International Political Culture. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Butt, Ahsan. 2013. Anarchy and Hierarchy in International Relations: Examining South America's War-Prone Decade, 1932–41. International Organization 67 (3):575607.
Burnham, Peter. 1991. Neo-Gramscian Hegemony and the International Order. Capital and Class 15 (3):7392.
Buzan, Barry. 1993. From International System to International Society: Structural Realism and Regime Theory Meet the English School. International Organization 47 (3):327–52.
Cham, Hok-Lam. 1988. The Chien-wen, Yung-lo, Hung-hsi, and Hsuan-te Reigns, 1399–1435. In the Cambridge History of China, Volume 7, The Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Part I, edited by Mote, F.W. and Twitchett, D., 182304. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Cham, Hok-Lam. 2007. Legitimating Usurpation: Historical Revisions Under the Ming Yongle Emperor (r. 1402–1424). In The Legitimation of New Orders: Case Studies in World History, edited by Yuen-sang, Philip Leung, , 75117. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press.
Church, Sally K. 2004. The Giraffe of Bengal: A Medieval Encounter in Ming China. The Medieval History Journal 7 (1):137.
Clark, Ian. 2009. Towards an English School Theory of Hegemony. European Journal of International Relations 15 (2):203–28.
Cooley, Alexander. 2005. Logics of Hierarchy: The Organization of Empires, States, and Nations in Transit. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Cooley, Alexander, and Nexon, Daniel H.. 2016. Interpersonal Networks and International Security. In The New Power Politics: Networks and Transnational Security Governance, edited by Avant, Deborah and Westerwinter, Oliver, 74102. New York: Oxford University Press.
Ditmanson, Peter. 2007. Venerating the Martyrs of the 1402 Usurpation: History and Memory in the Mid and Late Ming Dynasty. T'oung Pao 93 (1):110–58.
Donnelly, Jack. 2015. The Discourse of Anarchy in IR. International Theory 7 (3):393425.
Dreyer, Edward L. 2007. Zheng He: China and the Oceans in the Early Ming Dynasty, 1405–1433. New York: Pearson Longman.
Early, Bryan R. 2014. Exploring the Final Frontier: An Empirical Analysis of Global Civil Space Proliferation. International Studies Quarterly 58 (1):5567.
Eyre, Dana P., and Suchman, Mark C. 1996. Status, Norms, and the Proliferation of Conventional Weapons: An Institutional Theory Approach. In The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics, edited by Katzenstein, Peter J., 79113. New York: Columbia University Press.
Finlay, Robert 1991. The Treasure-Ships of Zheng He: Chinese Maritime Imperialism in the Age of Discovery. Terrae Incognitae 23 (1):112.
Finlay, Robert. 2008. The Voyages of Zheng He: Ideology, State Power, and Maritime Trade in Ming China. Journal of the Historical Society 8 (3):327–47.
Finnemore, Martha 1996. National Interests in International Society. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Fursenko, Aleksandr, and Naftali, Timothy. 2007. Khrushchev's Cold War: The Inside Story of an American Adversary. New York: W.W. Norton and Company.
Gaddis, John Lewis. 2006. The Cold War: A New History. New York: Penguin.
Galtung, Johan 1971. A Structural Theory of Imperialism. Journal of Peace Research 8 (2):81117.
Gilady, Lilach. 2006. Conspicuous Waste in International Relations. PhD Dissertation, Yale University.
Gilady, Lilach. 2017. The Price of Prestige: Conspicuous Consumption in International Relations. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press.
Gilpin, Robert 1981. War and Change in World Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Go, Julian. 2008. Global Fields and Imperial Forms: Field Theory and the British and American Empires. Sociological Theory 26 (3):201–27.
Go, Julian, and Krause, Monica. 2016. Fielding Transnationalism: An Introduction. In Fielding Transnationalism, edited by Go, Julian and Kruase, Monica, 630. Malden, MA: John Wiley and Sons.
Goddard, Stacie E. 2008/2009. When Right Makes Might: How Prussia Overturned the European Balance of Power. International Security 33 (3):110–42.
Goddard, Stacie E., and Nexon, Daniel H.. 2016. The Dynamics of Global Power Politics: A Framework for Analysis. Journal of Global Security Studies 1 (1):418.
Goldstone, Jack A. 2000. The Rise of the West—or Not? A Revision to Socio-economic History. Sociological Theory 18 (2):175–94.
Guzzini, Stefano 1993. Structural Power: The Limits of Neorealist Power Analysis. International Organization 47 (3):443–78.
Heppenheimer, Thomas A. 1999. The Space Shuttle Decision. NASA History Series, NASA SP-4221. Available at <https://history.nasa.gov/SP-4221/contents.htm>.
Hobson, John M., and Sharman, J.C.. 2005. The Enduring Place of Hierarchy in World Politics: Tracing the Social Logics of Hierarchy and Political Change. European Journal of International Relations 11 (1):6398.
Hoffman, Philip T. 2015. Why Did Europe Conquer the World? Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Hucker, Charles O. 1998. Ming Government. In Cambridge History of China, Volume 8, The Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Part II, edited by Mote, F.W. and Twitchett, D., 9105. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hui, Victoria Tin-bor. 2005. War and State Formation in Ancient China and Early Modern Europe. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Hurd, Ian. 2005. The Strategic Uses of Liberal Internationalism: Libya and the UN Sanctions Regime, 1992–2003. International Organization 59 (3):495526.
Humphreys, Macarta, and Jacobs, Alan M.. 2015. Mixing Methods: A Bayesian Approach. American Political Science Review 109 (4):653–73.
Ikenberry, G. John. 2011. Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Kang, David C. 2010. East Asia Before the West: Five Centuries of Trade and Tribute. New York: Columbia University Press.
Khong, Yuen Foong. 2013. The American Tributary System. The Chinese Journal of International Politics 6 (1):147.
Kloc, Joe. 2012. The Case of the Missing Moon Rocks. Self-published with The Atavist.
Koivisto, Marjo, and Dunne, Tim. 2009. Crisis, What Crisis? Liberal Order Building and World Order Conventions. Millennium: Journal of International Studies 38 (3):615–40.
Krieger, Miriam, Souma, Shannon L.C., and Nexon, Daniel. 2016. US Military Diplomacy in Practice. In Diplomacy and the Making of World Politics, edited by Sending, Ole Jacob, Pouliot, Vincent, and Neumann, Iver B., 220–55. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Lake, David A. 2009. Hierarchy in International Relations. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Landes, David S. 1999. The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor. New York: WW Norton and Company.
Larson, Deborah Welch, and Shevchenko, Alexei. 2010. Status Seekers: Chinese and Russian Responses to US Primacy. International Security 3 (4):6395.
Launius, Roger D. 2012. Why Go to the Moon? The Many Faces of Lunar Policy. Acta Astronautica 70:165–75.
Lee, Ji-Young. 2013. Diplomatic Ritual as a Power Resource: The Politics of Asymmetry in Early Modern Chinese-Korean Relations. Journal of East Asian Studies 13 (2):309–36.
Lee, Ji-Young. 2016. China's Hegemony: Four Hundred Years of East Asian Domination. New York: Columbia University Press.
Lemke, Douglas. 2002. Regions of War and Peace. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Logsdon, John M. 2010. John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
Logsdon, John M. 2011. A New Approach to Human Spaceflight. Space Policy 27 (1):153–56
McAdam, Doug, Tarrow, Sidney, and Tilly, Charles. 2001. Dynamics of Contention. New York: Cambridge University Press.
McCourt, David M. 2016. Practice Theory and Relationalism as the New Constructivism. International Studies Quarterly 60 (3):475–85.
McDonald, Patrick J. 2015. Great Powers, Hierarchy, and Endogenous Regimes: Rethinking the Domestic Causes of Peace. International Organization 69 (3):557–88.
McDougall, Walter A. 1985. … The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age. New York: Basic Books.
Muir-Harmony, Teasel. 2014. Project Apollo, Cold War Diplomacy, and the American Framing of Global Interdependence. PhD Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Musgrave, Paul, and Nexon, Daniel. 2013. States of Empire: Liberal Ordering and Imperial Relations. In Liberal World Order, edited by Dunne, Timothy and Flockhart, Trine, 211–30. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Needham, Joseph. 1971. Science and Civilisation in China, Vol. 4, Physics and Physical Technology, Part III: Civil Engineering and Nautics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Neumann, Iver B. 2011. Status Is Cultural: Durkheimian Poles and Weberian Russians Seek Great-Power Status. In Status in World Politics edited by Paul, T.V., Larson, Deborah W., and Wohlforth, William, 85114. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Nexon, Daniel H. 2009. The Struggle for Power in Early Modern Europe: Religious Conflict, Dynastic Empires, and International Change. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Nexon, Daniel H. and Neumann, Iver B. 2017. Hegemonic-Order Theory: A Field-Theoretic Account. European Jouranl of International Relations. Published electronically 4 July. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354066117716524.
Nexon, Daniel, and Wright, Thomas. 2007. What's at Stake in the American Empire Debate. American Political Science Review 101 (2):253–71.
Onea, Tudor A. 2014. Between Dominance and Decline: Status Anxiety and Great Power Rivalry. Review of International Studies 40 (1):125–52.
Peterson, M.J. 1997. The Use of Analogies in Developing Outer Space Law. International Organization 51 (2):245–74.
Pouliot, Vincent. 2011. Setting Status in Stone: The Negotiation of International Institutional Privileges. In Status in World Politics, edited by Paul, T.V., Larson, Deborah W., and Wohlforth, William, 192218. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Pouliot, Vincent, and Mérand, Frédéric. 2012. Boudieu's Concepts. In Bourdieu in International Relations: Rethinking Key Concepts in IR, edited by Adler-Nissen, Rebecca, 2444. New York: Routledge.
Pu, Xiaoyu, and Schweller, Randall L.. 2011. Status Signaling, Multiple Audiences, and China's Blue-Water Naval Ambitions. In Status in World Politics, edited by Paul, T.V., Larson, Deborah W., and Wohlforth, Willam, 141–64. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Renshon, Jonathan. 2016. Status Deficits and War. International Organization 70 (3):513–50.
Reus-Smit, Christian 1997. Constructing Anarchy: The Constitutional Structure of International Society and the Nature of Fundamental Institutions. International Organization 51 (4):555–89.
Rossabi, Morris 1998. The Ming and Inner Asia. Cambridge History of China, Vol. 8, The Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Part II. Edited by Mote, Frederick W. and Twitchett, Denis, 221–71. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Rupprecht, Tobias. 2015. Soviet Internationalism after Stalin: Interaction and Exchange between the USSR and Latin America during the Cold War. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015.
Saunders, Frances Stonor. 2013. The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters. New York: The New Press.
Savage, Mike, Warde, Alan, and Devine, Fiona. 2005. Capitals, Assets, and Resources: Some Critical Issues. The British Journal of Sociology 56 (1):3146.
Sheehan, Michael. 2007. The International Politics of Space. New York: Routledge.
Smith, Cameron, and Davies, Evan T.. 2012. Emigrating Beyond Earth: Human Adaptation and Space Colonization. New York: Springer Science and Business Media.
Steinberg, Gerald M. 1987. Large-Scale National Projects as Political Symbols: The Case of Israel. Comparative Politics 19 (3):331–46.
Stine, Deborah D. 2009. The Manhattan Project, the Apollo Program, and Federal Energy Technology R&D Programs: A Comparative Analysis. Washington, DC, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Available at <https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL34645.pdf>.
Tilly, Charles. 1995. To Explain Political Processes. American Journal of Sociology 100 (6):1594–610.
Tilly, Charles. 1997. Means and Ends of Comparison in Macrosociology. Comparative Social Research 16:4353.
Towns, Ann. 2009. The Status of Women as a Standard of “Civilization.” European Journal of International Relations 15 (4):681706.
Van Dyke, Vernon. 1964. Pride and Power: The Rationale of the Space Program. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Vitalis, Robert. 2015. White World Order, Black Power Politics: The Birth of American International Relations. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Volgy, Thomas J., and Mayhall, Stacey. 1995. Status Inconsistency and International War: Exploring the Effects of Systemic Change. International Studies Quarterly 39 (1):6784.
Von Eschen, Penny. 2009. Satchmo Blows Up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Vucetic, Radina. 2011. Soviet Cosmonauts and American Astronauts in Yugoslavia. In Soviet Space Culture: Cosmic Enthusiasm in Socialist Societies, edited by Maurer, Eva, Richers, Julia, Ruthers, Monica, and Scheide, Carmen, 188205. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Vucetic, Srdjan. 2011. The Anglosphere: A Genealogy of a Racialized Identity in International Relations. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Wade, Geoff. 2008. Engaging the South: Ming China and Southeast Asia in the Fifteenth Century. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 51 (4):578638.
Wallerstein, Immanuel Maurice. 2004. World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Waltz, Kenneth. 1979. Theory of International Politics. New York: Addison-Wesley.
Wang, Yuan-kang. 2012. Managing Regional Hegemony in Historical Asia: The Case of Early Ming China. The Chinese Journal of International Politics 5 (2):129–53.
Wendt, Alexander, and Friedheim, Daniel. 1995. Hierarchy Under Anarchy: Informal Empire and the East German State. International Organization 49 (4):689721.
Westad, Odd Arne. 2007. The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Wiesner, Jerome. 1961. “Space Frontiers.” Reprinted in New Frontiers of the Kennedy Administration: The Texts of the Task Force Reports Prepared for the President. Washington, DC: Public Affairs Press. Available via HeinOnline.
Wohlforth, William C. 2009. Unipolarity, Status Competition, and Great Power War. World Politics 61 (1):2857.
Wyatt, James C.Y. 2008. The Giraffe as the Mythical Qilin in Chinese Art. Metropolitan Museum Journal 43:111–15.
Wang, Gungwu. 1998. Ming Foreign Relations: Southeast Asia. In The Cambridge History of China, Vol. 8, edited by Twitchett, Denis C., and Mote, Frederick W., 301–32. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Zakaria, Fareed. 2012. The Post-American World: Release 2.0. New York: Norton and Company.
Zarakol, Ayşe. 2011. After Defeat: How the East Learned to Live with the West. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Zaks, Sherry. 2017. Relationships Among Rivals: A Framework for Analyzing Contending Hypotheses in Process-Tracing Research. Political Analysis 25 (3):344–62.
Zhang, Feng. 2015. Chinese Hegemony: Grand Strategy and International Institutions in East Asian History. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Zhang, Xiaojun. 2004. Land Reform in Yang Village: Symbolic Capital and the Determination of Class Status. Modern China 30 (1):345.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International Organization
  • ISSN: 0020-8183
  • EISSN: 1531-5088
  • URL: /core/journals/international-organization
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary materials

Musgrave and Nexon supplementary material 1
Online Appendix

 PDF (1.8 MB)
1.8 MB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1332
Total number of PDF views: 276 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1481 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 10th May 2018 - 18th June 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.