In international relations in the West, two main approaches to Chinese identity have emerged: the capability and the culture approaches. Though each takes a different view of China, they share common epistemological ground. positivism. This paper provides an overview of these two influential schools of thought and attempts to challenge their positivistic and ethnocentric assumptions about the identities of both China and the West. While they endeavour to make sense of China, particularly in the post-Cold War era, they fail to understand identity as a form of representation. From a critical perspective, both ’China’ and the ‘West’ are social constructs: each in part constitutes the other. The relationship between them is always relational and fluid. Posing Chinese identity in positivist terms is not only misleading analytically, but potentially dangerous in practice. It is important, therefore, that alternative critical approaches to the complexities of Chinese identity be further explored.
Field of Research
160607 International Relations
Socio Economic Objective
940399 International Relations not elsewhere classified
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