Unpacking Images of China Using Causal Layered Analysis

by Jeanne Hoffman


The aim of this paper is to use Causal Layered Analysis (CLA) to map the International Relations (IR) theories of ‘China threat’ and ‘Peaceful rise’. The paper looks at the way in which Western and Chinese constructs and prevailing metaphors impact the debate on the ‘rise’ of China and what limitations each view brings to the discourse. Both theories are shown to be problematic in their own way. It is argued that China futures need to be further investigated using more complex tools such as CLA to enable more than well rehearsed patterns of the future to emerge.

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