Playing a two-faced game in a changing arena: A Neo-Gramscian analysis of China's policy on Latin America

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: The position of The People’s Republic of China in international relations has developed significantly during the 21st century. In Latin America, growing Chinese engagement has been particularly visible. The purpose of this thesis is to gain better understanding of China’s increasing influence in Latin America over time, examine possible power relations, as well as discuss if the country can be seen as a new hegemonic force in the region. The primary material consists of China’s two policy papers on Latin America and the Caribbean from 2008 and 2016, which are analyzed and then compared to detect how policy has developed over time. This is done by using the method of Critical Discourse Analysis according to Teun A. van Dijk’s principles, and applying the theoretical framework of Neo-Gramscianism. The study’s results show that there has been a slight change in Chinese policy between 2008 and 2016, from mainly emphasizing South-South cooperation and common development, to increasingly stressing the emergence of markets and the importance of China’s own development. Due to the identification of discursive strategies, it can be assumed that China is reproducing a power relation by language. Through application of Neo-Gramscian theory, the slight changes in policy are identified as consequences of social relations. Further, it additionally concludes that China, in terms of their current involvement in the region, cannot yet be classified as neither a full hegemon nor a radical counter-hegemonic force in the Neo-Gramscian sense.

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