As China grows as a global power, so have expectations for it to behave 'responsibly'. Crucially, this has prompted intense debates - both inside and outside of the People's Republic - on its newfound roles and responsibilities in managing world affairs. Paralleling broader trends in international relations where a distinctive language of responsibility has come to permeate the conduct of world politics, these past few years have seen the Chinese leadership vigorously attempting to project a...[Show more] more 'responsible' image of the country. Yet whilst recasting its identity from an outlier of international society to that of a constructive stakeholder has served, in part, to reassure the global community of its intentions, doing so has also given rise to further questions on the nature of China's obligations and, more specifically, what it means to be 'responsible'. The central purpose of the thesis, as such, is to uncover how China understands and acts upon notions of responsibility in the realm of global governance. In particular, it examines China's engagement with extant structures of ecological governance, with special focus directed to how Chinese attitudes toward responsible stewardship have informed its practices in managing natural disasters and transboundary water resources. Taken together with the concepts of legitimacy and reciprocity, the concept of responsibility, as a fundamental idea undergirding governing processes, is seen to exert both a regulative and constitutive 'power' over actors. Of particular importance here is the 'politics of responsibility' - or to be precise, the socio-political dynamics of defining, designating, and demonstrating responsibility involved in determining the normative content of conceptions of responsibility as well as the agents tasked with the obligation to act. Occurring both within and between states, it is through these interlocking processes that notions of responsibility relate directly to efforts at governing the globe. How the People's Republic interprets and actualises conceptions of responsibility is, therefore, contingent not simply on the context at hand but on the broader politics of responsibility which, in the Chinese case, operates at multiple levels and is animated by a complex cast of local, national, regional and international actors. Connected through interweaving webs of responsibility, these actors effectively work to frame how China's duties and obligations are to be perceived. This, in turn, results in a triangulation effect where indigenous Chinese understandings of responsibility intersect with regional and international discourses to influence China's engagement with an evolving world society. -- Abstract provided by candidate.
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