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How to compare regional powers: analytical concepts and research topics

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Nolte, Detlef

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Abstract Although the concept of regional power is frequently used in International Relations (IR) literature, there is no consensus regarding the defining characteristics of a regional power. The article discusses different theoretical approaches that address the topic of power hierarchies in international politics and make reference to the concept of regional power. Marking differences as well as common ground with the more traditional concept of ‘middle powers’, the article outlines an analytical concept of regional powers adequate for contemporary IR research. The analytical dimensions of the framework may be employed to differentiate regional powers from other states and to compare regional powers with regard to their power status or relative power. Furthermore, the article investigates the possible repercussions of the rise of regional powers for international politics and discusses the probable importance and functions of regional governance structures for regional powers.
Keywords international relations; power politics; regional policy; political theory; power; structure; world politics; international politics; political development; political power; international leading power
Classification International Relations, International Politics, Foreign Affairs, Development Policy
Document language English
Publication Year 2010
Page/Pages p. 881-901
Journal Review of International Studies, 36 (2010) 4
ISSN 1469-9044
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.