Berlin, 5 September 2019: The Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (DOC) hosted a roundtable at its headquarters in Berlin on ‘(Re)imagining hegemonies: Policy outcomes’ within the framework of a series of events from the ‘(Re)constructing hegemonies’ research project.
The research project is led by DOC expert, Prof. Piotr Dutkiewicz, who is a professor of Political Science and the director of the Center for Governance and Public Policy at Carleton University.
After conferences and roundtables in Warsaw, Berlin, and Shanghai held between May 2018 and April 2019, this roundtable was dedicated to the presentation of policy outcomes and results of the project. The discussion particularly focused on the global reconfiguration of power and influence. The conclusions were developed in collaboration with fifteen renowned experts from Canada, Central Asia, China, Europe, Russia, the US, and India.
Prof. Piotr Dutkiewicz gave a brief introduction, addressing the need to identify specific aspects of hegemonic power’s dissemination and dominance, its strategies, and its means of construction and reinvention. This is necessary in order to understand the systemic shifts in the contemporary world order and the extent to which particular developments might result in deeper challenges for international society.
Prof. Dutkiewicz argued that structural contradictions in the global system are making world order chaotic and unpredictable. As long as they remain unresolved, they will continue to stoke systemic fear about the future, resulting in politics and policies based on fear instead of rational approaches.
Tom Casier, the director of the Global Europe Centre and a reader in International Relations at Brussels School of International Studies, highlighted the need to distinguish hegemony and power. Power relations are changing with the rise of many countries in Asia, the South, and the rise of the ‘Rest’ opposed to the American world order, so hegemony is no refers more to a stable hegemonic order based on material and non-material power (capabilities), ideas (including forms of trade, market, and currency systems as factors of interaction), and institutions through which these ideas are spread.
Even after a decline in power from one side, he argued, there will still be more continuity than change in the whole system, since the principles that are crucial for the international order will remain. Fear creates new levels of action and reaction in policy processes and some countries face the question of how to create small but self-led hegemonies in order to revise the system and remain competitive.
Elena Chebankova, a senior lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Lincoln, underlined the role and importance on non-material aspects in the context of power and hegemony, concluding that without an ideological paradigm no hegemony would be able to exist. With a disintegration of spiritual values and ideological beliefs, societies will erode, so there is a need to shape a global understanding of civilisational foundations in order to build up an ideologically based consensus.
Martin Geiger, associate professor of Politics of Human Migration and Mobility at Carleton University, outlined some conclusions based on the example of global migration as a powerful social process that transforms and alters the existing systematic order. In terms of politics related to migration, he underlined that the rise of actors beyond the state is increasingly shaping a system of governance with government or beyond government, in which new ideologies and new practices beyond the state are evolving.
Viktoria Akchurina, researcher at TRENDS Research & Advisory, addressed developments in Central Asia, highlighting the dynamic aspect of socio-economic development in the region and the nature of counter-hegemonic forces, where no single hegemony is expected to succeed and power can be seen as the capacity to introduce social change.
As a result of this project and its related policy outcomes, a volume will be published in early 2020.