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  • Author: Günter Schucher
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In international relations, transnational academic exchange or, more generally, cultural exchange is usually seen as a function of the quality of bilateral relations. As a variety of public diplomacy intended to win the “hearts and minds” of intellectuals in another country, the development of educational exchanges depends on the twists in foreign policy. Academic exchange across the Taiwan Strait commenced in the late 1980s, directly after the lifting of the travel ban, and had gathered momentum by the mid-1990s. It even accelerated further after the inauguration of the pro-independence Chen-government in Taiwan in 2000, creating the “paradox” of the expansion of social contacts in times of frosty political relations. One possible explanation for this is that due to the rather unique situation in the Taiwan Strait people-to-people exchanges between Taiwan and mainland China have been officially promoted as a substitute for official contacts. What is often neglected by analysts of cross-Strait relations, however, is the fact that academic exchange is also a response to the global pressure to internationalize higher education. Within this two-dimensional framework (international relations and the internationalization of higher education), cross-Strait academic exchange has been developing its own dynamic. The outcome has been an increasing amount of nonofficial communication and the growing “professionalization” (in the sense of the academic profession) of academic exchange.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: Sandra Destradi
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Regional powers are often conceived of as “regional leading powers,” states which adopt a cooperative and benevolent attitude in their international relations with their neighbors. The paper argues that regional powers can follow a much wider range of foreign policy strategies in their region. Three ideal-typical regional strategies are identified: empire, hegemony, and leadership. The paper is devoted to a theory-led distinction and clarification of these three terms, which are often used interchangeably in the field of international relations. According to the goals pursued, to the means employed, and to other discriminating features such as the degree of legitimation and the type of self-representation by the dominant state, the paper outlines the essential traits of imperial, hegemonic, and leading strategies and identifies subtypes for better classifying hegemony and leadership.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, India, Brazil
  • Author: Dirk Kohnert
  • Publication Date: 07-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Promising growth rates, increased trade, and competition among major global players for African resources have boosted the development and bargaining power of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in relation to the EU. However, Africa's least developed countries remain vulnerable to external shocks. Academic analysis is still too heavily influenced by scholastic controversies. Neither the controversy over “big-push” concepts nor the blaming of African culture as an impediment to growth or good government do justice to the real issues at stake. Even beyond the aftermath of (neo) colonialism, and notwithstanding continuing deficits in good government in many African countries, the EU bears responsibility for the fragile state of many African economies. The self-interested trade policies of the EU and other world powers contribute to poverty and unsatisfactory development in SSA. This threatens to perpetuate asymmetrical power relations in the new Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), to the detriment of regional integration and pro-poor growth. How- ever, mounting competition between China and other global players for Africa's resources is resulting in windfall profits for Africa. The latter is leading to a revival of seesaw politics, already known from the times of the Cold War, on the part of African states. This could be profitable for Africa's power elite, but not necessarily for Africa's poor.
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe
  • Author: Nadine Godehardt
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The image of China's peaceful rise, which the Chinese government is keen to enforce in the world, stands in contrast to the view of China's ascent as a threat. China's economic and military growth is perceived as a potential threat to the (East) Asian security structure and as a challenge to the preponderance of the United States. Even though the PRC is more active in international and regional organizations­and better integrated in the international community­than ever before, the ambiguity of China's true political intentions is still dominant.
  • Topic: Civil Society, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Günter Schucher
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: On 1 May 2004, the world witnessed the largest expansion in the history of the European Union (EU). This process has lent new weight to the idea of an expanded EU involvement in East Asia. This paper will examine the question of whether there has been a change in the EU's foreign policy with respect to its Taiwan policy after the fifth enlargement. It analyses the EU's policy statements on Asia and China to find evidence. The political behaviour of the EU has not changed, although there has been a slight modification in rhetoric. The EU – notwithstanding its claim to be a global actor – currently continues to keep itself out of one of the biggest conflicts in East Asia. The new members' interests in the East Asia region are too weak to alter the EU's agenda, and their economic priorities are rather linked to the programmes of the EU than vice versa.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Eastern Europe, Taiwan, East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Gunter Schucher, Jutta Hebel
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: China's transition to a market economy has been a process of basic institutional changes and institution building. The institutional change from a socialist labour regime (SLR) as one of the backbones upholding the traditional leninist system to a new 'socialist' market labour regime (SMLR) became particularly important for the success of economic and political reforms. This analysis is based on the analytical framework of regimes and makes use of the idea of path dependence. An ensemble of institutions, mutually interconnected and influencing each other, forms the regime and shapes its trajectory. Six institutions are identified to constitute the employment regime: (1) the system of social control, (2) the production system, (3) the system of industrial relations, (4) the welfare system, (5) the family order, and (6) the educational system. The SMLR is still characterised by its socialist past and differs from other varieties of transformation labour regimes and bears little resemblance to labour regimes in Western market economies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Karsten Giese
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The Chinese Communist Party has chosen to base the legitimacy of its rule on its performance as leading national power. Since national identity is based on shared imaginations of and directly tied to territory – hence place, this paper analyses both heterodox models for identification on the national and potentially competing place-based collective identities on the local level. This analysis, based on communication within a number of popular communication forums and on observation of behavior in the physical reality of today's urban China, shows that communication within the virtual and behavior in the real world are not separated realities but form a new virreal spatial continuum consisting of imagined places both online and offline. I argue that ties to place are stronger and identities constructed on shared imaginations of place are more salient the more direct the experience of place is – be the place real, virtual or virreal. Hence in China challenges to one-party rule will probably accrue from competing localized collective identities rather than from heterodox nationalism.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Heike Holbig
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: As a Socialist country undergoing rapid social and economic transition, China presents a revealing case study on the role of ideology in the process of institutional change. Based on Douglass North's theory of institutional change and on David Beetham's theory of political legitimation, this paper argues that recent ideological reforms have been a crucial factor in sustaining the legitimacy of Communist party rule. Ideological change is conceived as a path-dependent process which helps to stabilize the social perception of transition and to frame the party's modernization achievements. At the same time, the dominant role of ideology makes the Chinese party-state, despite its economic success, more vulnerable to legitimacy crises compared to other authoritarian regimes.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia