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Global power shifts and world order: the contestation of ‘western’ discursive hegemony

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-52
JournalCambridge Review of International Affairs
Issue number1
Early online date16 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018

King's Authors


Given growing awareness for ‘global power shifts’ and the ‘Western’-centrism of International Relations (IR), this article re-conceptualizes the phenomena subsumed under these two labels. By understanding ‘global power shifts’ and ‘world order’ as discursive phenomena, the article argues that discourses by fixing particular meanings and identities constitute the objects and subjects of which they speak. The discourses on ‘Global power shifts’ and ‘Post-Western IR’ are an expression of a hegemonic struggle over meanings and identities, resulting from the dislocation of existing meaning-systems and identities and enabling ‘new’ agents to assert particular representations of the world as universal. Drawing on the notion of discursive hegemony, developed by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, the article develops an analytical framework for conceptualizing the evolution and implications of this shift in representational power in the field of IR.

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