Why Status Matters in World Politics (book chapter)


According to traditional theories of world politics, peaceful power transitions only happen when the rising power continues to profit from the institutional order held together by the material capabilities of the declining power. Peace today depends on whether states, such as China, can remain satisfied as they rise within the existing hierarchy of power and authority. Traditionalists, including some in this volume, reject an independent role for status in major power conflict for structural and rationalistic reasons, based on either material power, or legitimate material power. So why bother studying international status? This chapter considers these arguments, and in so doing draws in and amplifies the contributions this volume makes in explaining why status matters in world politics and what further needs to be done to understand its role.

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