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Publication Details

Reference
Cooper, Andrew F (2013) Squeezed or revitalised? Middle powers, the G20 and the evolution of global governance. Third World Quarterly Vol. 34, No. 6: 963-984.

Summary
If global affairs are, indeed, moving towards a multipolar system, in which power coalesces around a small number of dominant poles (USA/EU/ BRICS in the global South), then middle powers may well find themselves relegated to a subordinate role. Yet, at odds with this expectation, the role of particular traditional and non-traditional middle powers has become revitalised.

This is in large part because of the nature of the global order after unipolarity under US dominance. Unlike past moments of transition, the current reconfiguration has not been made explicit by violent disruption. Moreover, unlike past concerts of powers, select middle powers have gained access to the G20, the hub site of transition in global governance. Membership in the G20 facilitates agency in terms of issue-specific forms of policy leadership, although the mode of operation by middle powers in utilising this space differs from country to country, as illustrated by the cases of Canada and South Korea.

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