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China in the conception of international society: the English School's engagements with China

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Abstract

Since Martin Wight's famous LSE lectures in the late 1950s, the English School scholars have brought China into the conception of international society. As the English School scholars have been ‘inventing’ an international society, China's status in the conception, or conceptions of international society has also been invented and reinvented. The Chinese case vividly demonstrates how a non-European (or non-Western) country, as one of ‘the others’, has been dealt with and brought into the conceptualisation of international society by the English School. China's status in the conception of international society, to a great extent, has been invented by some of the English School scholars with Eurocentric bias.

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1 Jones Roy, ‘The English School of International Relations: A Case for Closure’, Review of International Studies, 7:1 (1981), pp. 113 ; Dunne Tim, Inventing International Society: A History of the English School (Basingstoke: Macmillan Press Ltd., 1998) ; Vigezzi Brunello, The British Committee on the Theory of International Politics (1954–1985): The Rediscovery of History (Milan: Edizioni Unicopli, 2005) ; Linklater Andrew and Suganami Hidemi, The English School of International Relations: A Contemporary Reassessment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006) .

2 Bull Hedley, The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics (London: Macmillan, 1977) .

3 Adam Roberts, ‘The Evolution of International Relations’, Notes for lecture at Royal College of Defence Studies, (21 January 2008), p. 15.

4 Bull Hedley and Watson Adam (eds), Expansion of International Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984), pp. 19, pp. 1332, pp. 117126 ; Watson Adam, The Evolution of International Society: A Comparative Historical Analysis (London: Routledge, 1992), pp. 135309 .

5 Manning Charles, The Nature of International Society, reissue with a new preface (London and Basingstoke: The Macmillan Press Ltd., 1975) ; Wight Martin, International Theory: The Three Traditions (London: Leicester University Press, 1991), pp. 78, pp. 3031, pp. 139144 ; Wight Martin, ‘Why Is There No International Theory?’, in Wight Martin and Butterfield Herbert (eds), Diplomatic Investigations: Essays in the Theory of International Politics (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1966), p. 18 ; Bull Hedley, Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics (London: Macmillan, 1977) ; James Alan, Sovereign Statehood: The Basis of International Society (London: Allen & Unwin, 1986) .

6 Armstrong David, Revolution and World Order: The Revolutionary State in International Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 14 .

7 Stern Geoffrey, The Structure of International Society: An Introduction to the Study of International Relations, 2nd edition (London: Continuum, 2000), p. 58 .

8 Wight Martin, International Theory: The Three Traditions (London: Leicester University Press, 1991), p. 21, pp. 6669, pp. 9596, pp. 146147, pp. 148, 175, 186, 193 .

9 Wight Martin, International Theory: The Three Traditions, pp. 6669 .

10 Butterfield Herbert and Wight Martin (eds), Diplomatic Investigations: Essays in the Theory of International Politics (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1966) .

11 H. Butterfield, ‘Notes for a Discussion on the Theory of International Politics’, British Committee on the Theory of International Politics, Meeting of 10–13 January 1964, Martin Wight Papers, File 253, LSE Archives.

12 British Committee on the Theory of International Politics, Meeting of 2–5 October 1964 at Peterhouse, Martin Wight Papers, File 253, LSE Archives.

13 Wight Martin, ‘Balance of Power’, in Wight Martin and Butterfield Herbert (eds), Diplomatic Investigations: Essays in the Theory of International Politics), p. 167 .

14 Wight Martin, Systems of States (London and Leicester: Leicester University Press in association with London School of Economics and Political Science, 1977), pp. 2145 .

15 Martin Wight, Systems of States, p. 33.

16 Watson Adam, The Evolution of International Society: A Comparative Historical Analysis (London: Routledge, 1992), p. 6 .

17 Hudson G. F., ‘Collective Security and Military Alliances’, in Wight Martin and Butterfield Herbert (eds), Diplomatic Investigations: Essays in the Theory of International Politics, pp. 176180 ; G. F. Hudson, ‘The Threats of Force in International Relations’, ibid., pp. 201–5.

18 G. F. Hudson, ‘The Traditional Chinese Conception of International Relations’ (2–5 October 1964), Martin Wight Papers, File 253, LSE Archives.

19 Martin Wight, Systems of States, p. 23.

20 Geoffrey Hudson, ‘The Extension of Western International System to Asia and Africa’ (9–12 July 1965), Martin Wight Papers, File 253, LSE Archives; Geoffrey Hudson, ‘The Period of the Warring States: A State System of Ancient China’, Hedley Bull Papers, Box 8, Bodleian Library, Oxford University.

21 Adam Watson, The Evolution of International Society: A Comparative Historical Analysis, p. 2.

22 Ibid., pp. 85–93.

23 Ibid., p. 121.

24 Martin Wight, Systems of States, p. 23.

25 Ibid., p. 119.

26 Bull Hedley, The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics, 2nd edition (Basingstoke: Macmillan Press, Ltd., 1995), pp. 1011 .

27 Watson Adam, The Evolution of International Society: A Comparative Historical Analysis, p. 3.

28 Gong Gerrit, The Standard of ‘Civilization’ in International Society (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984), p. 132 .

29 Zhang Yongjin, ‘System, Empire and State in Chinese International Relations’, Review of International Studies, 27 (2001), pp. 4363 .

30 Buzan Barry and Little Richard, International Systems in World History: Remaking the Study of International Relations (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), pp. 2021 ; Little Richard, ‘The English School's Contribution to the Study of International Relations’, European Journal of International Relations, 6:3 (2000), pp. 414415 ; Zhang Yongjin, ‘System, Empire and State in Chinese International Relations’, Review of International Studies, 27 (2001), p. 44 .

31 Bull Hedley, ‘The European International Order’, (1980), in Alderson Kai and Hurrell Andrew (eds), Hedley Bull on International Society (Basingstoke: Macmillan Press, Ltd., 2000), pp. 179180 .

32 Bull Hedley, ‘A Proposal for a Study’, October 1978, reprinted in Brunello Vigezzi, The British Committee on the Theory of International Politics (1954–1985): The Rediscovery of History, pp. 425428 .

33 In his email message to this author on 25 February 2008, Gerrit Gong acknowledged his debt to Hedley Bull: ‘As you would imagine, my work on the Standard of “Civilisation” in International Society owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Professor Hedley Bull for his intellectual framing of the field.’ This author much appreciates Prof. Gong's kind response to his queries.

34 Lass Francis Lawrence Oppenhaim's International Law (1905) discussed the emergence of the standard of civilisation, and Georg Schwarzenberger published an article on the standard of civilisation in international law in 1955. And Hedley Bull touched on that theme and used the term ‘standard of “civilization”’ in his proposal for the British Committee in 1978. Bull Hedley, ‘A Proposal for a Study’ (October 1978), reprinted in Brunello Vigezzi, The British Committee on the Theory of International Politics (1954–1985): The Rediscovery of History, pp. 425428 .

35 ‘Summary of discussion of Mr G. W. Gong's paper on “China's Entry into International Society”’, British Committee on Theory of International Politics, All Souls Meeting (18–20 April 1980), Hedley Bull Papers, Box 8, File III, Bodleian Library, Oxford University.

36 Gong Gerrit W., ‘China's Entry into International Society’, Bull Hedley and Watson Adam (eds), The Expansion of International Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984), pp. 171183 .

37 Gong Gerrit, The Standard of ‘Civilization’ in International Society (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984) .

38 Bull Hedley, ‘A Proposal for a Study’ (October 1978), reprinted in Brunello Vigezzi, The British Committee on the Theory of International Politics (1954–1985): The Rediscovery of History, pp. 425428 ; Watson Adam, ‘Some Comments on Our Theme’ (January 1979), reprinted in Brunello Vigezzi, The British Committee on the Theory of International Politics (1954–1985): The Rediscovery of History, pp. 428431 ; Bull Hedley, ‘The Emergence of A Universal International Society’, in Bull Hedley and Watson Adam (eds), The Expansion of International Society, pp. 117126 .

39 Gong Gerrit, The Standard of ‘Civilization’ in International Society, ‘Foreword’ by Bull Hedley, pp. viix, 24 .

40 Gong Gerrit, The Standard of ‘Civilization’ in International Society, pp. 2435 .

41 Ibid., p. 98.

42 Watson Adam, The Evolution of International Society: A Comparative Historical Analysis, p. 85 .

43 Gong Gerrit, The Standard of ‘Civilization’ in International Society, pp. 130136 .

44 Watson Adam, ‘European International Society and Its Expansion’, in Bull Hedley and Watson Adam (eds), Expansion of International Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984), pp. 3031 .

45 Gong Gerrit, The Standard of ‘Civilization’ in International Society, p. 57 .

46 Zhang Yongjin, China in International Society since 1949: Alienation and Beyond (Basingstoke: Macmilian Press, Ltd., in association with St. Anthony's College, Oxford, 1998), p. 10 .

47 Gong Gerrit, The Standard of ‘Civilization’ in International Society, p. 146 .

48 But Yongjin Zhang argued that China entered into the universal international society in 1918–1920. Zhang Yongjin, China in the International System, 1918–1920: The Middle Kingdom at the Periphery (Basingstoke: Macmillan in association with St. Anthony's College, Oxford, 1991) .

49 Callahan William A., ‘Nationalizing International Theory: Race, Class and the English School’, Global Society, 18:4 (October 2004), p. 321 .

50 Bull Hedley and Watson Adam (eds), The Expansion of International Society, p. 183 .

51 Armstrong David, Revolution and World Order: The Revolutionary State in International Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993) .

52 Alderson Kai and Hurrell Andrew (eds), Hedley Bull on International Society, p. 170, ‘Introductory note’ .

53 Bull Hedley, ‘The Revolt against the West’, in Bull Hedley and Watson Adam (eds), The Expansion of International Society, pp. 217228 .

54 Bull Hedley and Watson Adam (eds), The Expansion of International Society, p. 227, 229, 257, 277 .

55 Bull Hedley, Justice in International Relations, the Hager Lectures, reprinted in Alderson Kai and Hurrell Andrew (eds), Hedley Bull on International Society, p. 239 .

56 Bull Hedley, The Twenty Years' Crisis Thirty Years On’, International Journal, Xxiv:4 (Autumn 1969), pp. 625638 , reprinted in Alderson Kai and Hurrell Andrew (eds), Hedley Bull on International Society, p. 133, pp. 135–6 .

57 Bell Coral, ‘China and the International Order’, in Bull Hedley and Watson Adam (eds), The Expansion of International Society, p. 255 .

58 Wight Martin, Systems of States, pp. 174200 ; Hudson G. F., ‘The Defection of Lin Piao’ (March 1972), Martin Wight Papers, File 253, LSE Archives; Coral Bell, ‘The Contest for Asia: A New Diplomacy’, New Society (17 February 1972), Martin Wight Papers, File 253, LSE Archives .

59 When I interviewed Mary Bull in Oxford on 13 March 2008, Mrs Bull kindly showed me the photos Hedley Bull took during his trip in China.

60 Hedley Bull, ‘Report by Professor Bull’ (28 October 1973), Hedley Bull Papers, Box 4, File II, Bodleian Library, Oxford University.

61 Hedley Bull to Stephen Fitzgerald (Australian Ambassador to China) (28 June 1974), and Stephen Fitzgerald to Hedley Bull (8 August 1974), Hedley Bull Papers, Box 4, File V, Bodleian Library, Oxford University.

62 Bull Hedley, ‘Introduction: Towards a New international Order in Asia and the Western Pacific?’, in Bull Hedley (ed.), Asia and the Western Pacific: Towards a New International Order (Canberra: The Australian Institute of International Affairs, 1975), pp. xixii .

63 Bull Hedley, Anarchical Society, 2nd edition, pp. 98, 108–10, 197–9 .

64 Bell Coral, ‘China and the International Order’, in Bull Hedley and Watson Adam (eds), The Expansion of International Society, pp. 255267 ; Hedley Bull, ‘Report by Professor Bull’ (28 October 1973), Hedley Bull Papers, Box 4, File II, Bodleian Library, Oxford University.

65 Goodwin Geoffrey, ‘International Institutions and International Order’, in James Alan (ed.), The Bases of International Order: Essays in Honor of C. A. W. Manning (London: Oxford University Press, 1973), p. 184 .

66 Bull Hedley, Anarchical Society, 2nd edition, p. 286 .

67 Wight Martin, ‘The Balance of Power and International Order,’ in James Alan, ed., The Bases of International Order: Essays in Honor of C. A. W. Manning, p. 114 .

68 Bell Coral, ‘China and the International Order’, in Bull Hedley and Watson Adam (eds), The Expansion of International Society, p. 265 .

69 Vincent R. J., Human Rights and International Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), pp. 4142 .

70 Roberts Adam, ‘A New Era of International Relations’, in Ming Yuan (ed.), Kuashiji de tiaozhan: Zhongguo guoji guanxi xueke de fazhan (The Trans-Centurial Challenge: The Development of International Relations as an Academic Discipline in China) (Chongqing: Chongqing People's Press, 1992), pp. 2256 ; Zhang Yongjin, ‘English School in China: A Travelogue of Ideas and Its Diffusion’, European Journal of International Relations, 9:1 (2003), pp. 87114 . I happened to be at the 1991 conference as a junior faculty member of Institute of International Relations, Peking University, and heard the name ‘English School’ for the first time although I first came cross an English School book (The Expansion of International Society) in 1987.

71 Armstrong David, Revolution and World Order: The Revolutionary state in international society, pp. 183184 .

72 Yongjin Zhang, China in the International System, 1918–20: The Middle Kingdom at the Periphery; Yongjin Zhang, China in International Society since 1949: Alienation and Beyond.

73 Ibid., pp. 99–251.

74 Segal Gerald, ‘Does China Matter?’, Foreign Affairs, 78:5 (1999), pp. 2436 .

75 Kim Samuel S., ‘China in World Politics’, in Buzan Barry and Foot Rosemary (eds), Does China Matters? A Reassessment: Essays in Memory of Gerald Segal (London: Routeledge, 2004), p. 40 .

76 Ikenberry John, ‘The Rise of China and the Future of the West: Can the Liberalism Survive?’, Foreign Affairs, 87:1 (January/February 2008), pp. 2337 .

77 Glaser Bonnie S. and Medeiros Evan S., ‘The Changing Ecology of Foreign Policy Making in China: Then Ascension and Demise of the Theory of “Peaceful Rise”’, China Quarterly, 190 (June 2007), pp. 291310 .

78 Cabestan Jean-Perre, ‘China Is Reaching Out to the New World’, Asian Perspective, 30:4 (2007), p. 5 .

79 Kim Samuel S., ‘China in World Politics’, in Buzan Barry and Foot Rosemary (eds), Does China Matter? A Reassessment: Essays in Memory of Gerald Segal, p. 40 .

80 Those related works directly devoted to China include the following: Zhang Yongjin, ‘System, Empire and State in Chinese International Relations’, Review of International Studies, 27 (2001), pp. 4363 ; Buzan Barry and Foot Rosemary (eds), Does China Matter? A Reassessment: Essays in Memory of Gerald Segal (London: Routeledge, 2004) ; Callahan William A., ‘How to Understand China: the dangers and opportunities of being a rising power’, Review of International Studies, 31 (2005), pp. 701774 ; Foot Rosemary, ‘Chinese Strategies in a US-hegemonic Global Order: Accommodating and Hedging’, International Affairs, 82:1 (2006), pp. 7794 .

81 Robert Jackson and Adam Roberts could probably be put into this category. Jackson Robert, The Global Covenant: Human Conduct in a World of State (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000) ; Roberts Adam, ‘International Relations after the Cold War’, International Affairs, 84:2 (2008), pp. 116 .

82 Nicholas Wheeler and Tim Dunne could probably be put into this category. Wheeler Nicholas, Saving Strangers: Humanitarian Intervention in International Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000) ; Dunne Tim and Wheeler Nicholas J. (eds), Human Rights in Global Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999) ; Wheeler Nicholas and Dunne Tim, ‘East Timor and the New Humanitarian Interventionism’, International Affairs, 77:4 (2001), pp. 805827 ; Wheeler Nicholas and Dunne Tim, Moral Britannia?: Evaluating the Ethical Dimension in Labour's Foreign Policy (London: The Foreign Policy Centre, 2005) .

83 James Mayall, Andrew Hurrell and Barry Buzan could probably be put into this category. Mayall James (ed.), The New Interventionism 1991–1994: UN Experience in Cambodia, Former Yugoslavia and Somalia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996) ; Mayall James, World Politics: Progress and Its Limits (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2000) ; Hurrell Andrew, On Global Order: Power, Values, and the Constitution of International Society (Oxford: Oxford University, 2007) ; Buzan Barry, From International to World Society? English School Theory and the Social Structure of Globalization (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004) .

84 Gong Gerrit, The Standard of ‘Civilization’ in International Society, p. 66 .

85 Bull Hedley, ‘Foreword’, Gerrit Gong, The Standard of ‘Civilization’ in International Society, pp. viiviii .

86 Gong Gerrit, The Standard of ‘Civilization’ in International Society, pp. 9093 .

87 Interviews with Barry Buzan (4 March 2008), LSE; Donnely Jack, ‘Human Rights: A new standard of civilization?’, International Affairs, 74:1 (1998), pp. 124 .

88 Vincent John, Human Rights and International Relations, p. 129 .

89 Zhang Yongjin, ‘System, Empire and State in Chinese International Relations’, Review of International Studies, 27 (2001), p. 63 .

90 Zhang Yongjin, ‘China's Entry into International Society: Beyond the Standard of “Civilization”’, Review of International Studies, 17:1 (1991), pp. 316 .

91 Vincent John, Human Rights and International Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), p. 130, 132 .

92 Wheeler Nicholas, Saving Strangers: Humanitarian Intervention in International Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 1 .

93 Ibid., p. 1.

94 Dunne Tim, ‘Fundamental Human Rights Crisis after 9/11’, International Politics, 44 (2007), p. 283 .

95 Ibid., pp. 69–286.

96 Hurrell Andrew, ‘Power, Principles and Prudence: Protecting Human Rights in a Deeply Divided World’, in Dunne Tim and Wheeler Nicholas J. (eds), Human Rights in Global Politics, pp. 277302 .

97 Hurrell Andrew, ‘Hegemony, Liberalism and Global Order: What space for would-be great powers?’, International Affairs, 82:1 (2006), pp. 14 .

98 Ibid., p. 4.

99 Ibid., p. 10.

100 Jackson Robert, The Global Covenant: Human Conduct in a World of States (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 364 .

101 Roberts Adam, ‘International Relations after the Cold War’, International Affairs, 84:2 (2008), p. 3 .

102 Ibid., p. 11.

103 Adam Roberts, ‘The Evolution of International Relations’, Notes for lecture at Royal College of Defence Studies (21 January 2008), pp. 19–21.

104 Scott David, China Stands Up: The PRC and the International System (London: Routledge, 2007), pp. 1519, 8385 .

105 Foot Rosemary, Rights beyond Borders: The Global Community and the Struggle over Human Rights in China (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000) ; Foot Rosemary, ‘Chinese Strategies in a US-hegemonic Global Order: Accommodating and Hedging’, International Affairs, 82:1 (2006), pp. 777794 ; Adam Roberts, ‘The Evolution of International Relations’, Notes for lecture at Royal College of Defence Studies (21 January 2008), p. 21.

106 Adam Roberts, ‘The Evolution of International Relations’, Notes for lecture at Royal College of Defence Studies (21 January 2008), p. 21.

107 Ibid.

108 Andrew Hurrell, ‘Hegemony, Liberalism and Global Order: What space for would-be great powers?’; Rosemary Foot, ‘Chinese Strategies in a US-hegemonic Global Order: Accommodating and hedging’.

109 Wheeler Nicholas J., ‘Introduction: The Political and Moral Limits of Western Military Intervention to Protect Civilians in Danger’, in McInnes Colin and Wheeler Nicholas J. (eds), Dimensions of Western Military Intervention (London: Frank Cass Publishers, 2002), p. 4 .

110 Tim Dunne, Inventing International Society: A History of the English School.

111 See Zhang Yongjin, ‘English School in China: A Travelogue of Ideas and Its Diffusion’, European Journal of International Relations, 9:1 (2003), pp. 87114 ; Barry Buzan, English School Bibliography for China: writings principally on China, or by Chinese authors about the English School (version of May 2007), {http://www.polis.leeds.ac.uk/research/international-relations-security/english-school/}; Hongni Miao, ‘The English School in China’, in Yizhou Wang (ed.), Zhongguo Guoji Guanxi Yanjiu, 1995–2005 (IR Studies in China, 1995–2005) (Beijing: Peking University Press, 2006), pp. 196224 ; Zhirui Chen, Guiyin Zhou and Bin Shi (eds), Kaifang De Guoji Shehui: Guoji Guanxi Yanjiu Zhong De Yingguo Xuepai (Open International Society: The English School in IR Studies) (Beijing: Peking University Press, 2006) ; Jia Xu, Yingguo Xuepai Guoji Guanxi Lilun Yanjiu (A Study of ‘English School’ Theories) (Beijing: Contemporary Affairs Press, 2008) .

112 Zhang Yongjin, ‘English School in China: A Travelogue of Ideas and Its Diffusion’, European Journal of International Relations, 9:1 (2003), p. 98 .

113 Yizhou Wang, Xifang Guoji Guanxi Xue: Lilun Yu Lishi (Western International Politics: History and Theory) (Shanghai: Shanghai People's Press, 1998), pp. 378379 ; Zhirui Chen, Guiyin Zhou and Bin Shi (eds), Kaifang De Guoji Shehui: Guoji Guanxi Yanjiu Zhong De Yingguo Xuepai (Open International Society: The English School in IR Studies), p. 21, pp. 6970 ; Cungang Wang, ‘Learn From and Be Critical of the English School: Some Thoughts on Working on and Learning from the English School’, Europe Studies, 4 (2005), pp. 4852 .

114 Some of the Chinese IR scholars have been taking great efforts in this regards. Tingyang Zhao, Tianxia Tixi: Shijie Zhidu Zhexue Daolun (The Tianxia System: An Introduction to the Philosophy for the World Institutions) (Nanjing: Jiangsu Education Press, 2005) ; Tingyang Zhao, ‘Rethinking Empire from a Chinese Concept “All-under Heaven” (Tian-xia)’, Social Identities 12:1 (2006), pp. 2941 ; Yaqing Qin, ‘Core Problematic of International Relations Theory and the Construction of a Chinese School’, Social Sciences in China, 3 (2005), pp. 165176 ; Callahan William A., ‘Chinese Visions of World Order: Post-hegemonic or a New Hegemony’, International Studies Review, 10 (2008), pp. 749761 .

* This article grew from my one year's research work at London School of Economics and Political Science, 2007–2008. I would like to thank Barry Buzan, Andrew Hurrell, Adam Roberts, Marry Bull, Peter Wilson, Gerrit Gong, Hidemi Suganami, Brunello Vigezzi, Rosemary Foot, William Callahan, and Christopher Hughes, for kindly meeting me or responding to my queries through email. I would also like to extend my thanks to Arne Westad, Michael Cox, Svetozar Rajak, and Tiha Franulovic for hosting me at the LSE IDEAS, and Ms Liang Guozhen in Hong Kong for the research grant.

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