Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Shadowing the Hegemon? Great Power Norms, Socialization, and the Military Trajectories of Rising Powers
Authors: Liff, Adam Phail
Advisors: Christensen, Thomas J
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: China
rising powers
Subjects: Political Science
International relations
Asian studies
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This study develops and tests a theory to explain variation in the military trajectories of rising powers in the modern era, an important phenomenon overlooked in the existing international relations literature. I analyze English-, Japanese-, and Chinese-language sources to identify the causal mechanisms that have shaped leaders' military policy choices at more than two-dozen critical `strategic decision points' during periods of rapid industrialization and economic growth. My case studies are Meiji Japan, Germany, and the United States during the pre-1914 period; late 20th-century Japan and Germany; and contemporary China. My findings challenge widely-held assumptions in related literatures about the primacy of structural imperatives, security concerns, and material interests in shaping military policy choices under international anarchy. I demonstrate empirically that the normative context into which a rising power emerges also has independent and significant effects on the manner in which its leaders pursue status as a `great power.' This `status-seeking' driver effectively functions as a powerful mechanism driving rising powers' socialization to perceived contemporaneous norms of role-appropriate `great power' behavior--with consequences for better or worse for the likelihood of subsequent interstate conflict, even hegemonic war. How leaders respond to perceived contemporaneous `great power' norms, however, is contingent on rising power `type'; itself based on widely-held national identity within the state concerning the desirability of attaining international social status as a `military great power.' Those `status-seeking' rising powers in which national identity provides leaders with strong domestic political incentives to exploit surging nationalism and pursue this status often mimic the military policy profile of higher-ranked states in order to achieve social recognition as a member of `the great power club.' This status-seeking driven mimicry often occurs even when the normatively-associated policies are disconnected from, or even contrary to, pressing national security and/or material interests. Conversely, leaders in `status-avoiding' rising powers with widely-held national identities that have negative associations with the pursuit of status as a `military great power' have powerful domestic political incentives to eschew normatively-associated military policies. Paradoxically, these leaders often choose to do so despite recognizing these policies as being otherwise beneficial for security, material, and other interests.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Liff_princeton_0181D_10991.pdf4.03 MBAdobe PDFView/Download

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.