Chinese concepts and Relational International politics

Emilian Kavalski

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The rise of China troubles the taken-for-granted epistemological and ontological constitution of International Relations (IR) theory. The Greek term 'theoria' implied travelling to foreign locales with the aim of gaining illumination that can then simultaneously inform and transform the 'home' of the traveler. Yet, instead of travelling, IR theory engages in silencing. This paper undertakes an interpretative journey of China's IR concepts. In particular, it looks at the notion of guanxi - one of the two terms that goes into the Chinese phrase for International Relations (guoji guanxi). The contention is that 'relationality' renders a more accurate translation of guanxi in English. In the process, the paper uncovers the practices of 'international relationality' as an opportunity to redefine the 'international' as a co-dependent space where two or more actors (despite their divergences) can interface into a dialogical community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-102
Number of pages16
JournalAll Azimuth
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Chinese International Relations
  • Guanxi
  • Post-Western International Relations
  • Relational International Relations
  • Relationality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


Dive into the research topics of 'Chinese concepts and Relational International politics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this