Book Review The Struggle for Recognition in International Relations: Status, Revisionism, and Rising Powers
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Will global power transitions be peaceful or bloody? This question frequently comes to the fore as to the consequences of the possible power transition between China and the USA. The Struggle for Recognition in International Relations: Status, Revisionism, and Rising Powers provides both a theoretical and empirical framework based on the ‘struggle for recognition’ to understand the social dynamics of power transitions. Michelle Murray examines the rise of the United States and Germany against Britain at the end of the 19th century. Using these examples, Murray questions why some power transitions occurred peacefully and others ended in conflict. While Murray brings together status studies and power transition theory within the framework of ‘constructivist theory’, the epistemological foundation of her book is still based on positivism. She evaluates the relationship between identity, social uncertainty, and the material world from a Hegelian perspective, using the master-slave dialectic. This approach offers a different perspective on how states manage their intersubjective identities in anarchic social uncertainty. By contributing to the literature with this unique perspective, Murray offers a philosophical explanation of the process of individual identity formation to international relations theory.