"Quest for Status" by Deborah Welch Larson

Quest for Status Chinese and Russian Foreign Policy Deborah Welch Larson, Alexei Shevchenko

Publication date:
11 Apr 2019
Yale University Press
352 pages: 235 x 156mm

Deborah Welch Larson and Alexei Shevchenko argue that the desire for world status plays a key role in shaping the foreign policies of China and Russia. Applying social identity theory—which states that individuals derive part of their identity from larger communities—to nations, they contend that China and Russia have used various modes of emulation, competition, and creativity to gain recognition from other countries and thus validate their respective identities. To make this argument, they analyze numerous cases, including Catherine the Great’s attempts to westernize Russia, China’s identity crises in the nineteenth century, and the countries’ responses to the end of the Cold War. The book employs a multifaceted method of measuring status that includes factors such as influence and inclusion in multinational organizations, military clout, and cultural sway. Combined with historical precedent, this socio‑psychological approach helps explain current trends in Russian and Chinese foreign policy.

Deborah Welch Larson is professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles. Alexei Shevchenko is professor of political science at California State University, Fullerton.