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The Spratly Islands: A Symbol of China’s Aspiration for Regional Hegemony?
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Political Science.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis is to study, unpack and analyze the meaning behind the Chinese leaders’ discourse and their actions in relation to the Spratly Islands in order to explore and explain how and why this case could be seen as a symbol of China’s strive for regional hegemony. The case of Spratly Islands is used since it is an important case from an international relations perspective for two key reasons. The first is that these Islands are claimed by six countries in Asia. This fact makes it a regionally important case, especially from the study of great power behavior in relation to smaller and weaker states. The second reason is the spillover into the global political arena, which makes it an important case in terms of balance of power.

The chosen research method i.e. discourse analysis has been a valuable tool to use since it has enabled a comprehensive and holistic analysis of the case. The frameworks of realism and constructivism have been applied to interpret China’s discourse and behavior in the case of Spratly Islands. Both frameworks have proven to be highly applicable.

The overall conclusion of this thesis is that the case of Spratly Islands can, from an international relations perspective, be seen as a clear symbol of China's aspiration for regional hegemony.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Spratly Islands, South China Sea, hegemony, sovereignty, security, power, identity, image, realism, constructivism, discourse.
National Category
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-21067OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-21067DiVA: diva2:904565
Available from: 2016-02-19 Created: 2016-02-19

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