: Why It Matters and How It Works

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This dissertation is an ambitious attempt to write seapower into International Relations by investigating its evolving role in Asia, and examining the ways in which it is wielded by regional states to influence regional order. It opens a theoretical discussion, rooted in the English School and other social theories of IR, of how the discipline may make better sense of the development of seapower in maritime Asia. The study uses Mahan's constituent parts of seapower as a guide to understanding how comprehensive seapower may serve a dynamic institutional role in producing and reproducing order among Asian states. Mahanian seapower is made of naval, diplomatic (or discursive), economic and cultural elements, though only the first has been extensively examined. The broader framework offered in this work provides us a starting point for three case studies of the institutionalization of various dimensions of seapower in Asia over time, as well as their ordering effects - Taiwan's commercial seapower, Japan's maritime diplomacy, and Indonesia's cultural seapower. Exploration of each case will initiate a more comprehensive discussion about how Asia's international relations are structured by the region's embrace of seapower. The study concludes by offering a novel understanding of the fundamental nature of seapower: its strategic significance, and its modes of operation.
Date of Award2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorGreg Kennedy (Supervisor) & Matthew Uttley (Supervisor)

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