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Securing the way to power: China’s rise and its normative peace and security agenda in Africa

Carrozza, Ilaria (2018) Securing the way to power: China’s rise and its normative peace and security agenda in Africa. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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China’s role as a global security actor has increased dramatically over the last decade and the country is now projecting its power and promoting its agenda well beyond Asia. In particular, peace and security have come to be at the centre of China’s Africa strategy and are now a major factor affecting not only China’s relations with African countries, but also its global image. Studying China through its engagement with the continent’s security regime allows us to see the global actor the PRC is becoming. In order to obtain a more nuanced understanding of the topic, I advance an argument that is both theoretical and empirical. Theoretically, I argue that the concept of normative power, understood as the power to shape the ‘normal’ in international affairs, gives us insights into China’s preferred norms and practices and into the mechanisms through which it is promoting its vision of world order. Empirically, I claim that not only is China being socialised into the international system, but it also contributes to shaping it. Its norms-making attempts become more evident if we look at its engagement with Africa’s security environment. I thus make two related claims. First, China increasingly acts as a security norms-shaper in the continent thanks to a stable discourse articulating China and African countries as fellow members of the Global South. Second, as China-Africa security cooperation develops mostly through multilateral institutions, I argue that its normative power potential varies depending on the contingent institution. After mapping China’s Africa discourse on security across the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the African Union, and the United Nations Security Council in the period 2000-2018, I argue that it is especially through creating dedicated forums responding to its interests and priorities, that China is becoming a normative power.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2018 Ilaria Carrozza
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Alden, Christopher

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