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Logics of China-Chile Relations: A Post-Marxist Approach to Re-Politicizing China’s Presence in Latin America

Coloma, Claudio (2022) Logics of China-Chile Relations: A Post-Marxist Approach to Re-Politicizing China’s Presence in Latin America. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

Claudio Coloma - PhD Dissertation[7274].pdf

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When it comes to explaining China’s presence in Latin America, there are significant gaps in the International Studies literature. Existing research focuses on trade, investment and infrastructure, suggesting that pragmatic considerations and material interests determine these relationships. However, no single study exists that adequately accounts for their political and ideological dimensions. This thesis fills this void by taking as its starting point an unprecedented set of experiences that have transformed China-Chile relations during the last decades. It proposes new terms to account for international relations, building on post-Marxist discourse theory: the notion of international practice is developed to account for the significance of Chile-China relationships at different historical conjunctures. In this account, observed political convergences and divergences embody logics of international relations, and the concept of the ‘empty signifier’ helps to locate different moments of ideological objectivation. Based on the ontology of the instability of objects, this study develops a research strategy that reframes the way international relations theory understands ideas and material factors, developing three key claims. First, two socialist countries can arrive at antagonistic understandings of socialism and yet articulate ideological convergences around other elements. Second, a communist country can conceal its political divergence from an anti-communist regime by redefining its ideological horizon. Thirdly, the signature of China’s first free trade agreement can be understood as the articulation of political demands and the ideological concealment of antagonisms rather than a result of technocratic decisions informed by economic complementarities. The findings suggest that the significance of China’s presence in Latin America depends on how each country articulates the other as an element of its foreign policy and vice-versa. The thesis thus aims to shift our perspective away from dominant interpretations that reduce China to the image of a rising power encroaching on the backyard of the United States.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Claudio Coloma Rojas
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2022 14:50
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2022 14:50

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