There is no end to the number of academic and popular titles that respond to changing dynamics in the global order. The structures, actors, ideas, and modes of interaction that had been thought to be fixed have seemed especially dynamic since at least the 2008 global recession. While some believe that the US remains so overwhelmingly dominant that the world remains unipolar, others insist that the rise of developing countries (most notably the BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) heralds major changes, while others note that the nature of power, influence, and interaction has changed in a post-Cold War and now, possibly post-US hegemonic era. In grand visions, the new world order is seen as a space of US domination, an implicit G-2 (the US and China), a world for a G-20, or even a G-0 world. Some argue that globalization has finally brought about a neo-medievalism, undermining the Westphalian State system.

These concerns are welcome. The current paper is less ambitious. Without trying to characterize any new world order, it prefers to consider two increasingly important actors (China and Brazil) and a type of increasingly important interaction (South-South relations) as a way of gaining insight into broader changes. Much of the research on rising powers (such as China and Brazil) and South-South relations tends to see these actors and interactions as inherently contrary to US global leadership and the current patterns of global affairs. But Chinese and Brazilian foreign policy in Sub-Saharan Africa suggests a more subtle picture. Examining the ideational and practical content of Chinese and Brazilian foreign policy toward Sub-Saharan African countries, this paper argues that a zero-sum reading of the rise of these countries and South-South interactions misses the mark. Rather, an approach informed by the English School of International Relations—which is far more intelligible to foreign policy formation in both China and Brazil—offers greater insight.

Anthony Spanakos,  Montclair State University, New Jersey (USA),
Joseph C. Marques, King’s College, London,
Read the article:
MARQUES, Joseph; SPANAKOS, Anthony. South-South relations and the English School of International Relations: Chinese and Brazilian ideas and involvement in Sub-Saharan Africa.Rev. bras. polít. int.,  Brasília ,  v. 57, n. spe,   2014 .   Available from <;. access on  19  Oct.  2014.


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