ISSN (Print) 1996-7845

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Alexander Sergunin1, Fey Gao
  • 1 St. Petersburg State University, 1/3 Smolnogo str., St. Petersburg, 191060, Russia

BRICS as the Subject of Study of International Relations Theory

2018. Vol. 13. No. 4. P. 55–73 [issue contents]

This article examines the phenomenon of the BRICS grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa from the perspective of several theories of international relations; in particular, power transition theory, soft power and peaceful coexistence concepts, the theory of “global regionalism” and status theories are reviewed. Each explains both the BRICS phenomenon and the role of this integration association in the present-day international relations system. It is concluded that, depending on research objectives and the way it is applied, each theory — despite limitations – has explanatory power. Together they create an interdisciplinary basis for studying complex phenomena such as the BRICS.

A number of modern theories hold that, along with the pursuit of purely material and pragmatic interests, the BRICS countries actively use this integration association to strengthen their positions in the world arena and elevate their international status.

It is also concluded that the BRICS succeeded in creating an image of an alternative model of world order based on the principles of cooperation, mutual respect and balance of interests, rather than mandate, discrimination and hierarchy. It is premature to make a statement that a principally new type of interstate relations or an international institution has been created within the BRICS framework. At the same time, it is also certain that some positive experience has already been accumulated in the framework of this forum, and that this association offers good prospects for the future. For this reason it is of considerable interest for international relations theory.

Citation: Sergunin A., Gao F. (2018) BRICS as the Subject of Study of International Relations Theory. International Organisations Research Journal, vol. 13, no 4, pp. 55-73 (in English). DOI: 10.17323/1996-7845-2018-04-03.
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