The special rights and responsibilities of the great powers have traditionally been treated as a key component - even a primary institution - of international society in the English School literature. Recent interpretivist work has focused on the meanings of special responsibilities in contemporary international society with far less scholarly attention being given to the corollary of this - special rights. This article uses an interpretivist approach to attempt to uncover what recent debates over China's right or otherwise to a sphere of influence in East Asia tells us about understandings of great power rights in contemporary international society. The argument advanced is that if Beijing's right to a sphere of influence is successfully rejected by the rest of international society without repudiating its status as a great power more broadly, China will indeed be a great power without historical precedent.
|Journal||Journal of International Political Theory|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|