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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Blanco, Luis Fernando 2016. The functions of ‘strategic partnership’ in European Union foreign policy discourse*. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Vol. 29, Issue. 1, p. 36.

    Envall, H. D. P. and Hall, Ian 2016. Asian Strategic Partnerships: New Practices and Regional Security Governance. Asian Politics & Policy, Vol. 8, Issue. 1, p. 87.

    Ferreira-Pereira, Laura C and Vieira, Alena Vysotskaya Guedes 2016. Introduction: The European Union’s strategic partnerships: conceptual approaches, debates and experiences. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Vol. 29, Issue. 1, p. 3.

    Tow, William T. and Limaye, Satu 2016. What's China Got to Do With It? U.S. Alliances, Partnerships in the Asia-Pacific. Asian Politics & Policy, Vol. 8, Issue. 1, p. 7.

    Chidley, Colleen 2014. Towards a Framework of Alignment in International Relations. Politikon, Vol. 41, Issue. 1, p. 141.


‘Alignment’, not ‘alliance’ – the shifting paradigm of international security cooperation: toward a conceptual taxonomy of alignment


This article provides a working taxonomy of the concept of ‘alignment’ in the discipline of International Relations (IR); a heretofore major deficiency in the otherwise abundant literature on alliance/alignment. It further contends that the label ‘alliance’ is commonly employed reflexively and unreflectively, where in fact the term ‘alignment’ would be a superior and more accurate descriptor. This contention is buttressed by empirical developments in international politics. The article makes the case that the contemporary security environment is characterised by multiple forms of ‘alignment’, not just alliances, in their many guises. In addition, we can identify ‘coalitions’, ‘security communities’, and ‘strategic partnerships’; all distinctly different from the conventional ‘alliance’ archetype. It concludes that a change in our thinking about defining and conceptualising alignment and alliance is required to bring disciplinary work closer in line with the paradigmatic shift that is occurring in contemporary international politics.

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Review of International Studies
  • ISSN: 0260-2105
  • EISSN: 1469-9044
  • URL: /core/journals/review-of-international-studies
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