Culture and Context in World Politics by Stephanie Lawson (auth.)

By Stephanie Lawson (auth.)

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91 And it has not been an entirely one-way flow. 92 But others took a more sceptical attitude. One critic argued that ‘culture’ was a fad sweeping the literature on IR, security studies and international economics, and that although most could grasp the rather mundane point that culture is certainly a factor, the idea that it is the principle engine driving world affairs does not stand up to scrutiny. 94 But as one commentator warns, it is not always clear what strategic culture can explain and how it is supposed to explain it.

World Politics and the Cultural Turn 33 2. At the level of theory lie questions of identity and self/other distinctions. Although these clearly underscore the ‘nation-states’ that constitute the international system of states, they have rarely been raised in IR. 88 3. 89 4. Cultural approaches can help bridge the gap between IR and comparative politics (thereby enriching both) by illuminating the effect of cultural attributes at the national level on the conduct of world politics. 5. Finally, a clearer focus on culture can alert us to the influence of nonWestern systems of thought on the international system, as exemplified in the Asia-Pacific region.

Finally, a clearer focus on culture can alert us to the influence of nonWestern systems of thought on the international system, as exemplified in the Asia-Pacific region. The growing political, economic, and military power of countries such as China, Japan and the newly industrializing countries (NICs) has led to a much stronger voicing of their perspectives. For countries like the United States, this has had an important impact on foreign policy stances in relation to aid, trade, human rights diplomacy and security regimes.

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