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The study of power is one of the defining features of International Relations. Thus, every generation of IR scholars undertakes a reconsideration of the concept of power in an attempt to place its own definitive stamp on one of the oldest conversations in world affairs. What distinguishes current engagements with the consideration of power is that they are happening in the context of a power transition. It is in this setting that the three books included in this review both reflect and address the different puzzles attendant in the current re-articulations of the notion and practices of power in IR. Jiang Qing addresses the ‘what’ of power through a novel assessment of previously overlooked Confucian insights. Marjo Koivisto engages the ‘when’ of power by drawing attention to the strategic impact of normative state action in world affairs. Alexander Cooley explores the ‘how’ of power through a parallel assessment of the strategic competition for influence between the US, Russia and China in Central Asia.


Institute for Social Justice

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Journal Article

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