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Title: Rising Powers and the Quest for Status in International Security Regimes
Authors: Mukherjee, Rohan
Advisors: Friedberg, Aaron L
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: arms control
international regimes
international security
laws of war
nuclear non-proliferation
rising powers
Subjects: Political science
International relations
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Since the end of the Cold War, a number of scholars have studied how the rise of new great powers such as China and India will impact global order. However, important questions such as why these countries might choose to become more “responsible” actors instead of simply free-riding on existing institutions, or conversely why they might undermine the very order that has facilitated their rise, have not been systematically studied. Existing literatures on power transition and international organization do not comprehensively explain these types of behaviors. A rapidly growing literature on the pursuit of status in international politics can help shed light on these questions, but so far it has not demonstrated how or when status matters relative to other goals that states pursue in the international system, such as security and economic gain. In this dissertation, I develop a theory of status-seeking to explain why rising powers sometimes uphold the rules and norms of international regimes when it is not in their material interest to do so; and conversely, having joined international regimes, why they sometimes break from them at great cost. Drawing on social identity theory, I show that rising powers follow a range of strategies to attain great-power status, or symbolic equality with the great powers, and that these strategies translate into different rule-oriented behaviors—following, breaking, or shaping—in international regimes. A rising power’s choice of strategy will depend on the extent to which it perceives the international regime to be open to its rise and procedurally legitimate. I test this theory in the domain of international security regimes, specifically those designed to restrain certain weapons and modes of warfare. Through longitudinal case studies of the United States and the maritime laws of war in the mid-19th century, Japan and naval arms control in the interwar period, and India and nuclear non-proliferation in the latter half of the 20th century, I show that rising powers draw important inferences about their own status from the design and functioning of international regimes, and are willing to accept significant risks to enhance their status within these regimes.
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

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