Relations and Roles in China's Internationalism

Rediscovering Confucianism in a Pluriversal World

Expected to ship: 2024-08-01

Creative exploration of how the encounter between Confucianism and western (neo)liberalism necessarily leads to the unlearning of both.


Pluriversalism within International Relations and the literature on Chinese international relations each embrace ideas of relation and difference. While they similarly strive for recognition by Western academics, they do not seriously engage with each other. To the extent that either succeeds in winning recognition, it ironically reproduces Western centrism and the binary of the Western versus the non-Western. In Relations and Roles in China's Internationalism, author Chih-yu Shih demonstrates, through a critical translation exercise, that Confucian themes enable both the critique and realignment of liberal thought, allowing all of us, including the members of Confucianism and the neo-liberal order, to understand how we adapt to and coexist with each another. In the end, Confucianism not only informs the pluriversal necessity that all are bound to be related but also de-nationalizes China's internationalism.

Chih-yu Shih is Visiting Chair Professor of Tongji University and Professor Emeritus of National Taiwan University. He is the author of Post-Chineseness: Cultural Politics and International Relations, also published by SUNY Press.


"Shih's discussion of relationality and roles from the classical Confucian perspective is a significant and indispensable step toward a full-fledged theorization of 'relationality' in international relations. Utilizing a rather de-nationalized and de-Sinicized notion of Confucian philosophy, Shih's work opens a meaningful path for the full theorization of non-Western IR." — Jungmin Seo, Yonsei University

"Significantly advancing the 'relational turn' in International Relations (IR), this remarkable book offers a highly original understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of Chinese international policy. Richly textured with relevant historical examples to illuminate both philosophical and theoretical insights, Relations and Roles in China's Internationalism is an important piece of work that requires maximum exposure."—Mustapha Kamal Pasha, Aberystwyth University