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Reciprocal Socialization: Rising Powers and the West



Maximillian Terhalle. (2011) Reciprocal Socialization. International Studies Perspectives, doi: 10.1111/j.1528-3585.2011.00442.x
© 2011 International Studies Association

This article asks how the international order can be renegotiated with rising powers. Negotiating understood as a process of socialization is the focus of the article. However, given non-Western states’ recent practice of powerfully permeating the existing Western order, it is difficult to explain this process by means of neorealist, constructivist, or liberal socialization. Respectively, they presuppose that some states are already socialized while others need to be adopted into the club of socialized members. In contrast, this article suggests the notion of reciprocal socialization. It explains how rising powers are socialized into the order, while reshaping it when they enter. Two conditions need to be fulfilled to accomplish a socializing process that reflects the reciprocal influencing of states of the Western security community and non-Western veto-players; these are employing “small informal groups” and “personalized interactions.” Their application can be viewed in informal operational rules which are, in turn, capable of governing the renegotiations.