Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
The productive power of rising China and national identities in South Korea and Thailand.pdf (2.04 MB)

The productive power of rising China and national identities in South Korea and Thailand

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-05-27, 21:21 authored by Alexander BukhAlexander Bukh
Drawing on the insights of the constructivist school approach, this article joins the debate on the effects of rising China in Asia. The existing scholarship devoted to no-material aspects of China’s rise focused either on China’s ‘soft power’ initiatives or their reception by certain audiences. In this article, rising China and its governance model, are construed as a form of productive power, one that is expected to bring about not only shifts in material relations and perceptions but also transformations in the national identities of countries in the region. This article focuses on South Korea and Thailand, two countries with fundamentally different political systems but a similar pattern of recent interactions with China. It analyzes the policymaking elites’ discourse and public attitudes and explores the productive effects of China’s rise on national identities in the two countries. This article argues that the impact of China’s rise on elites’ discourse has been largely negligible with narratives on kinship and historical ties being used by the elites mostly for instrumental reasons. At the same time, this article suggests that the recent shifts in public attitudes towards greater acceptance of authoritarian values observed in South Korea and Thailand, may be indicative of the productive effect of rising China on national identities in both countries


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