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Where does the hegemony lie in the 21st century?

The book: Hegemony and World Order: Reimagining Power in Global Politics will be published this week. Jan Aart Scholte: 'We hope that students, lecturers and policy makers will start to think differently because of this book'

In the book, Prof. dr. Jan Aart Scholte, Professor Global Transformations and Governance Challenges at Leiden University, together with his co-authors, tries to answer the question whether hegemony plays a role in the arrangement of world politics in the 21st century. Another question asked is where does that hegemony lie, with a leading state or another force?

The book offers new insights in the current changes in dynamics in world politics. Without giving too much away, are there insights you would like to highlight?

Scholte: 'We're questioning, for instance, whether hegemony should always lie with a state or a group of states. In today's world Facebook is the biggest 'country'. With more virtual inhabitants than China, India and the US combined. Take Google, Microsoft, Apple, for instance; when seen together another similar superpower. It's an old-fashioned way of thinking to claim that hegemony always and solely lies with a state. Just because it lay with England in the 19 th century and the US in the 20 th century, doesn't mean that it should lie with a dominant state now. We're looking at it differently and we're sharing those theories and insights in the book.'

You find the internet's role interesting. Why?

'I conduct empirical research into the governance of the internet and which powers are taking part. Fascinating. The last 20 years the number of internet users has risen from 100 million to 4.8 billion worldwide. To make sure everything runs smoothly, you also need leadership, regulations, means, and capital. I find it interesting to see which type of power structures are involved and that provides insight in the workings of current day world hegemony.'

How did the book come into being?

'We, the authors, got together on 4 different occasions each time in a different part of the world, to discuss matters and take a closer look at the concept stories. It's important to note that we’ve managed to gather stories with a big diversity. Either geographical, as theoretical, or regarding policy area. The chapters have been put together through dialogue and mutual
conversations and haven't been written by us as individual writers working independently from each other. It has truly become a group project. Which is why I'm convinced it has become such an original book.'

Who did you have in mind when you wrote the book?

'It was initially written with the academic community in mind. I hope, however, that the book will be accessible to a broader audience. I hope that the book will help students, policy makers and citizens to step away from the old-fashioned way of thinking about hegemony in world politics.'


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