Introduction
The utility and limits of polarity analysis
in National perspectives on a multipolar order
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The introductory chapter outlines the rationale for the book and places the current debates about multipolarity in the wider context of the existing scholarly literature on polarity. The chapter discusses the continued utility of polarity analysis as well as what should be considered the limits of this concept. As part of making the case for the utility of the concept, the chapter argues in favour of distinguishing between polarity as an analytical tool deployed by scholars engaging in system-level theorising on the one hand, and an ‘ordering concept’ used by practitioners on the other. The chapter also discusses the limits of polarity analysis, identifying a number of major deficiencies and blind spots in the existing literature. This includes scholarship that explores the polarity debates in both the scholarly and practitioner realms with a view to developing conclusions about its substance, efficacy, and utility in national policy debates. The chapter then links this to the individual case study chapters that follow, highlighting the ways in which they not only shed light on the state of the debate in the individual states themselves, but also contribute valuable insights for polarity analysis in International Relations more generally. The broad methodological approach of the volume is outlined alongside setting out the guiding questions used to frame the empirical analysis in each of the case study chapters. The chapter ends with a brief description of the structure of the book and the key findings of each chapter.

National perspectives on a multipolar order

Interrogating the global power transition

Editor: Benjamin Zala

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