- Title : The State Formation of Late Qing China within Global Geopolitical Dynamics
- Author : Sung Hee Ru
- Journal : Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies
- Publication Date : May, 2022
This article views the nineteenth-century Qing government's acceptance of modern state logics as a momentous occasion in the government-led modern state transition amid pressure from across the geopolitical landscape. In the process of this transition, the Qing government strove to adopt the rules of the interstate system, such as border demarcation and the system of international law, which were fine-tuned to the politico-economic expansion of the modern world-system. Perspective builds on theories of China's process of incorporation into the modern world-system; however, it is qualitatively different from previous approaches such as the impact-response approach or the colonial perspective in that it is based on an understanding of global geopolitics as a transnational entity and, as such, a unit of analysis. Global geopolitics first appeared in Western Europe, but as it expanded into non-European areas, its logics gradually became global logics that encompassed European and non-European practices alike. This paper makes two significant theoretical contributions. First, from a macroscopic perspective, it suggests that the global connected histories between Western Europe and China can be examined without excluding the distinctive dynamics of either Europe or China. Second, by using global geopolitics as a unit of analysis, it argues that the role of the Qing government is as important as the influence of Western colonial powers in the formation of the modern Chinese state. This approach challenges the Eurocentric perspective that considers European powers to be active and progressive and China to be passive and lethargic.