Taking Stock. China’s Rise, Asia-Pacific’s Power Shift and the Challenge of Measuring Both

Wed 22 May 2019
16:15 - 17:15




Department of Economics & International Studies
+44 (0)1280 820171

Dr. Enrico Fels, University of Bonn

The astonishing development of the People’s Republic of China over the last decades and its impact both on Beijing’s relations with Washington as well as on those with regional neighbors make it important to get a better understanding of the widely perceived power shift in this key world region. Alas, even though ‘power’ is one – if not the – most important concept in political science, its continuing conceptual ambiguity is as surprising as it is challenging for scientifically examining and measuring power trends such as the attested one in Asia-Pacific.

In his talk, Dr. Fels will examine key understandings of ‘power’ in International Relations and outline some of the major methodological challenges for its measurement, while also proposing some steps for overcoming existing difficulties, e.g. by employing a novel Composite Index on Aggregated Power (CIAP) or relying on regional middle powers as proxies for identifying relational power shifts. Based on a quantitative and qualitative multi-case study (“Shifting Power in Asia-Pacific? The Rise of China, Sino-US Competition and Regional Middle Power Allegiance” (Springer 2017)) Dr. Fels will show how in doing so the linkage between the regional (re-)distribution of relevant material and immaterial capabilities, national power and the much-discussed regional power transition can be better deciphered.