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Empire, Hegemony, and Leadership: Developing a Research Framework for the Study of Regional Powers


  • Sandra Destradi

    () (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies)


Regional powers are often conceived of as “regional leading powers,” states which adopt a cooperative and benevolent attitude in their international relations with their neighbors. The paper argues that regional powers can follow a much wider range of foreign policy strategies in their region. Three ideal-typical regional strategies are identified: empire, hegemony, and leadership. The paper is devoted to a theory-led distinction and clarification of these three terms, which are often used interchangeably in the field of international relations. According to the goals pursued, to the means employed, and to other discriminating features such as the degree of legitimation and the type of self-representation by the dominant state, the paper outlines the essential traits of imperial, hegemonic, and leading strategies and identifies subtypes for better classifying hegemony and leadership.

Suggested Citation

  • Sandra Destradi, 2008. "Empire, Hegemony, and Leadership: Developing a Research Framework for the Study of Regional Powers," GIGA Working Paper Series 79, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:wpaper:79

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Young, Oran R., 1991. "Political leadership and regime formation: on the development of institutions in international society," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(03), pages 281-308, June.
    2. Dirk Nabers, 2007. "Crises, Hegemony and Change in the International System: A Conceptual Framework," GIGA Working Paper Series 50, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sören Scholvin, 2010. "Emerging Non-OECD Countries: Global Shifts in Power and Geopolitical Regionalization," GIGA Working Paper Series 128, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.

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    regional powers; empire; hegemony; leadership; strategy;

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