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Who or what is a normative power? In response to this query the article suggests that normative powers are those actors that are recognized as such by others. This qualifies Ian Manners’s oft-quoted proposition that normative powers are only those actors that have the ability to ‘shape what can be “normal” in international life’. The proposition is that the definitions of the ‘normal’ are not merely undertaken by normative power, but they emerge in the context of its interaction with others. Recognition, in this setting, is indicated by the specific reactions of target states. In this respect, the issue is not merely about being and becoming a normative power, but also about being recognized as one by others. The article details this proposition through a parallel assessment of normative power Europe and normative power China. The intention of such comparison is to elicit the key elements of normative power in global life.


Institute for Social Justice

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Journal Article

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