China’s rise in a liberal world order in transition–introduction to the FORUM

Nana de Graaff*, Tobias ten Brink, Inderjeet Parmar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In a time of great uncertainty about the future and resilience of the liberal world order this Forum focuses on China’s rise and interplay with the foundations of that liberal order. The key question is the extent to and variegated ways in which China - with its (re)ascendance to power and potential global leadership–is adapting to and perhaps even strengthening liberal institutions and rules of the game, confronting them, or developing alternative paths. In this introduction to the Forum we advance three key points based on the contributions. First, contrasting the orthodox binary scenarios of either inevitable conflict or co-optation offered in the mainstream IR debate, the Forum highlights the possibility of a third scenario of China’s interplay with the liberal world and its key actors, institutions, and rules. A hybrid and variegated scenario that entails both conflict and adaptation, differently entangled in different issue areas. Second, it stresses the need to conceptualize and empirically comprise the essentially interlinked nature of domestic state-society models and the global political economy. Third, we argue for a perspective that incorporates underlying economic and social structures and the power relations embedded therein.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-207
Number of pages17
JournalReview of International Political Economy
Issue number2
Early online date27 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Volume 27, issue 2: Forum on China’s Rise in a Liberal Order in Transition. Forum Guest Editors: Nana de Graaff, Tobias ten Brink, Inderjeet Parmar.


  • China’s rise
  • elite agency
  • hegemonic transition
  • IPE
  • IR theory
  • liberal world order
  • state capitalism
  • US-Sino relations

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