PRIMO Working papers

In this section you will find our current PRIMO Working Papers.

Beverly Loke (UOXF). Analytical Toolkit: Key Concepts and Select Readings

Any analytical framework that seeks to examine the emerging powers and the shifts in global order must place them within a broader historical context. How might we conceptualise the emerging powers as representative of the Third World and the Global South from a historical perspective?

PRIMO Analytical Toolkit- Loke

Andrew Hurrel (UOXF): Can the Study of Global Order be De-centered?

One of the most important and innovative aspects of PRIMO is that it represents a multi-partner and global initiative to study regional and emerging powers. It is also, perhaps above all, a training programme in which young researchers are brought together to think both about the substantive questions posed by regional and emerging powers but also about how these same powers may be changing the way in which International Relations is studied. Across the developing and emerging world the study of International Relations is expanding and questions are being raised as to how far theories and approaches that were developed within the West and the Anglo-phone World are adequate for understanding global politics today.

HURREL, PRIMO Working Paper No. 2

Cord Jakobeit (UHAM): Strategies of Rising Powers in World Politics.

Full version will be published soon.

JAKOBEIT, PRIMO Working Paper No. 1 – Abstract

Martin Pioch (SPSU): Can the Rise of (Re-)Emerging Powers Challenge the International Trading System?

Without doubt the BRICS dominate their regions in economic and trade figures as well as compete with – and in the case of China overtake – the G7-states on the global level. The respective literature discusses the BRICS mostly as a challenge for an US/EU-dominated world order. These power shifts also have important implications for international institutions. Here the literature discusses mainly the current establishment of alternative institution by non- western states. But what remains uncertain are the consequences of the BRICS-rising for trade structures, global interdependences and the WTO?

PIOCH, PRIMO Working Paper No. 3

Felipe Leal Ribeiro de Albuquerque (ICSUL): Navigating the Atlantic. Brazil’s Defense Engagements with Africa in the South Atlantic

Brazil’s recent inroads towards Africa reflect one façade of the country’s greater aspirations. Ranging from technical cooperation projects and a push for dynamic commercial relations to the promotion of inter-regional dialogues, Brazil’s presence in Africa also comprises initiatives in the security realm. Not receiving matching attention, endeavors in the security domain reveal Brazil’s aspiration of building the South Atlantic as a region in which South America and Africa can foster common ground, preclude extra-regional powers, secure maritime resources and develop naval defense industry. Amidst this background, I argue Brazil engaged in securitization practices in order to promote shared understandings and cooperation in both sides of the South Atlantic. 

ALBUQUERQUE, PRIMO Working Paper No. 4

Eleonora Tafuro Ambrosetti (METU): Building a Sphere of Influence in Their Neighbourhood. The Soft Power of Turkey and Russia.

The concept of soft power is useful to explore these non-material factors, but an effort to de-Westernise the concept is needed, in order to make it applicable to case studies such as Turkey and Russia. Hence, the aim of this working paper is twofold: on the one hand, it conducts an in-depth analysis of the concept of soft power, exploring its relation with hard power, its gaps and its importance for today’s global and regional politics; on the other hand, it re-elaborates the concept and finds ways to operationalise it for the study of rising powers. The paper argues that the use of some concepts (especially ‘hegemony’ and ‘common sense’) elaborated by political theorist Antonio Gramsci, coupled with the study of national identity narratives – two areas of study previously not linked – can pave the way to the analysis of the soft power of rising powers.


Manaíra Assunção (UHAM): The Southern Expertise. Brazil’s, India’s and China’s South-South Cooperation in Health

Emerging economies play an increasingly important role in the international development cooperation field (IDC). Countries like Brazil, India and China have expanded their South-South cooperation (SSC) initiatives claiming a particular type of expertise, in which similar development experiences authorise the promotion of common policy solutions to other developing countries, particularly in Africa. In the health sector, ‘Southern experts’ who have previously participated in the design and implementation of health policies and practices in their home countries, are now leading implementation of SSC projects abroad. This working paper examines which type of health expertise is mobilized in Brazil’s, India’s and China’s SSC with Africa.

ASSUNCAO, PRIMO Working Paper No. 6

Fleur Huijskens (FU): From Norm-Taker to Institution-Creator: China’s Growing Role in International Institutions

(Re-)emerging powers are taking a more active role at the global stage and are moving away from merely being ‘norm-takers’ toward becoming ‘norm-shapers’ and even ‘institution-creators’. China in particular is becoming a more important influencer regarding international norms and institutions. This paper explains how China has been evolving from being a ‘norm-taker’ into an international ‘norm-shaper’ as well as an ‘institution-creator’ and the effect this development has been having on the traditionally ‘normative power’, the EU as well as its response. Thereby, arguing for the importance of bringing socialisation into IR theory and showing that the way socialisation has so far been applied in IR theory as well as in practice is outdated and needs a different approach that corresponds with the changes taking place within the world order. The paper will demonstrate through two case studies, the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Summit and the establishment of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), how China is no longer unilaterally being socialised into the existing global order by the existing, Western powers, but that is becoming an active ‘socialiser’ itself, shaping norms and institutions according to its views. Socialisation should thus no longer be viewed as a one-way process in which the existing powers socialise the ‘rest’, but as an increasingly two-way process in which (re-)emerging powers are playing an increasing role.

HUIJSKENS, PRIMO Working Paper No. 7

Insa Ewert (GIGA): EU Policymaking in a Changing World Order – The Case of EU-China Bilateral Investment Agreement

This working paper analyzes the negotiations over a Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA) with China as a case study of how the EU responds to these challenges in its trade and investment policy. Instead of focusing on official interests or effectiveness, policymaking practices will be addressed. By applying an interpretive approach, it is shown that the practice of presenting trade and investment as technical emphasizes the role of the Commission vis-á-vis the other Institutions, in particular the European Parliament. At the same time, it will be shown how this approach is articulated in the EU’s China policy – thus contributing to the shift from political issues to presumably technical issues in EU-China relations.

EWERT, PRIMO Working Paper No. 8

Mingde Wang (University of Oxford): Regime Complexity, What Role Does It Play? A Critical Review

For international relations scholars, anarchy has disposed states towards enduring hostility and conflict between states on a systematic level. However, this does not mean the preclusion of inter-state cooperation. Neo-institutionalist scholars have long recognized the value of international institutions in facilitating cooperative relations between states. From a rationalist perspective, many of them argue that international institutions emerge from states’ motivation to manage transaction costs for certain regular interactions that bring about, largely, economic benefits. While international institutions can help stabilize interstate exchange in searching for absolute gains, uncertainties about each other’s intentions in terms of the need for survival can, in turn, be significantly reduced. Therefore, the promise of international institutions seems to lie in their capacities to offset the Security Dilemma that anarchy produces and, eventually, facilitating stable peace. However, recent studies of regime complexes have complicated the theoretical discussions regarding cooperation through international institutions. Regime Complexity scholars have pointed out that as international institutions become increasingly “dense” over certain issue areas, their overlapping jurisdictions are not necessarily associated with positive spillover and reciprocity, but often lead to new problems and tensions, hence, inefficiency in global governance. This paper is aimed at critically reviewing recent development in the regime complexity literature. After surveying major studies and their implications for policy making, it argues that three structural problems in the existing research paradigm may hinder the further progress of the research filed as well as its potential for generating value implications for policy making in relations to international cooperation, in particular global governance.

WANG, PRIMO Working Paper No. 9

Melina Breitegger (Stellenbosch University): Regional Powers and Democracy Promotion through Regional Organizations. A Comparison of Brazil and South Africa

What role do the regional powers Brazil and South Africa play in democracy promotion in the regions of South America and Africa? While both South Africa and Brazil played an important role in building normative frameworks of regional institutions for democracy promotion, most notably within the African Union and the Union of South American Nations, their leadership within regional organizations to apply these frameworks is inconsistent. South Africa is trapped between regional and global expectations; Brazil’s regional leadership lacks commitment. In the context of the loose regional integration settings in both institutions, the ambitious democratic frameworks remain ineffective when regional powers fail to unite the member states behind their implementation.

BREITEGGER, PRIMO Working Paper No. 10

Faiz Sheikh (UHAM): Conceptualising ‘Rising Powers’. US Declinism and the Rise of the BRICS

A strong undercurrent to the literature on the rise of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (the BRICS) is a concern about the end of the American unipolar moment. As such, the BRICS literature reflects and builds upon recurrent fears about the decline of US hegemony, which has provoked a great deal of literature dedicated to it over the past 50 years. In this light, BRICS take the place previously occupied by the Soviet Union and Japan. This chapter argues that arguments over the BRICS being a fundamental challenge to global order are overblown due to their reliance on a material, agent-centric understanding of power, due to the use of crude metrics and due to linear growth assumptions, all of which have poorly served this literature in its assessment of the challengers to US hegemony in the past and serve as a weak foundation for assessment of the future of US hegemony.

SHEIKH, PRIMO Working Paper No. 11

Monica Rodríguez de Luna (UHAM): The ‘BASIC’ Response to the Neoliberal Turn in the Global Climate Change Regime

Climate Change mitigation efforts have increasingly become an object of neoliberalization. The measures implemented by states across the world to address climate change have steadily given more power to the market and have rendered the state a secondary actor in climate change mitigation. Several measures to address climate change are inscribed in this trend: the commodification of carbon through the creation of Emission Trading Schemes (ETSs), Joint Implementation (JI), and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). This paper provides a brief account on how the policies of the countries of the BASIC coalition in climate change, formed by Brazil, India, South Africa and China, have adopted neoliberal features. I will argue that, despite their claims on intending to contest the international climate change order, emerging countries are approving one of its most pervasive characteristics: the increasing role of the market as a regulating agent.

Rodríguez de Luna, PRIMO Working Paper No. 12

Deepak Raj Pandaya (JNU): The EU-India Relations: A Partnership Still in the Making

The bilateral relationship between the EU and India has evolved through times with major challenges. The relationship has been established in almost all aspects of bilateral cooperation through various policy documents, bilateral summits and working groups. This paper’s analysis seeks to explain how the relations have progressed over time and how successful they have been. It looks into multidimensional aspects of the relationship including cooperation at the bilateral level, in multilateral fora, and within FTA agreements. Furthermore, in an interpretative analysis the paper explains the factors that impact on the convergence or divergence of the bilateral European-Indian relationship.

Raj Pandaya, PRIMO Working Paper No. 13

Andrew Hurrell & Beverley Loke (OXF): Emerging Powers and Global Order: Much Abo About Nothing?


Hurrell & Loke, PRIMO Working Paper No. 14

Julian Eckl & Manaíra Assunção (UHAM): Power, Knowledge, Practices

Julian Eckl

The paper reconstructs typical requirements of empirical power analysis that have been identified by social scientist and explains in what sense an ethnographic approach helps to address them. Moreover, the paper draws on the author’s own research in order to briefly illustrate what kind of insights can be produced in this manner and what practical challenges might have to be dealt with. From a methodological perspective, the paper highlights the complementarity between participant observation and document analysis for the purpose of studying power empirically.

Manaíra Assunção                                                                                    

This discussion paper is in dialogue with an input paper focussed on different forms of power analysis. The input paper provides one line of inquiry on global health actors and their institutionalised practices in malaria policies and governance reforms. This discussion paper is based on another line of investigation consisting of a doctoral research on South-South cooperation (SSC) and health development. This paper builds parallels between the two lines of inquiry, particularly the relation between power, experts and knowledge production, or what is defined as the micro layers of power analysis. It discusses two research methods – participant observation and narrative inquiry – employed in both investigations, respectively. It focuses on the methodological challenges raised by the adoption of a qualitative research design of inductive and iterative nature to epitomize the study of three big and very used concepts in the social sciences: power, knowledge and practices.

Eckl & Assunção, PRIMO Working Paper No. 15