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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the implications of the rise of Asia on the theoretical understandings of IR in Asia. The mainstream international relations theories (IRTs)—realism, liberalism, and constructivism--are limited in their ability to explain key aspects of Asia’s IR. However, attempts to use the region’s historical and cultural uniqueness as the basis of developing a general theory of IR risk being too parochial, neglecting the linkages between Asia and the outside world. Neither approach is likely to meet the challenge of capturing and theorizing Asia’s rise. What is likely to prove more useful is a balance between the two extremes, one that requires what this chapter terms “deprovincialization” of both the established Western and a presumptive “Asian” IRT. This means not only focusing on the region’s own history and agency, but also on its changing linkages with the world at large. The interplay between the local and the global might be the answer to the Western dominance that laid the foundation of the existing IRTs.

Keywords: non-Western IR theory, rise of Asia, deprovincialization, Mandala, “ASEAN Way”, exceptionalism

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