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Publication Details

Reference
Stephen, Matthew D. (2012) Rising Regional Powers and International Institutions: The Foreign Policy Orientations of India, Brazil and South Africa. Global Society Vol. 26, No. 3: 1-22.

Summary
How do rising powers relate to international institutions? At the same time as rising regional powers from the South emerge as key players in international politics, they confront a highly institutionalised world order established and maintained by and for the United States and its allies. Traditional perspectives identify three major patterns of behaviour for rising states in international institutions: balancing, spoiling, and being coopted. This article uses these perspectives to ask how the redistributive aspirations of three rising regional powers – India, Brazil, and South Africa (IBSA) – impact on international institutions in the fields of trade, money, and security. The findings indicate that there is strong variation across issue areas. Trade provides support for the spoiling perspective, while the areas of money and security exhibit aspects familiar both to the balancing and cooptation perspectives. A broader picture emerges of IBSA states’ general integration into hegemonic norms and being coopted into existing international institutions, but at the same time as balancing the influence of the established powers and reforming these institutions to conform to a more South-oriented, sovereigntist image of world order.

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