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Working Thesis

"Moving Beyond (Traditional) Alliance Theory?: a Neo-Gramscian Approach to the U.S.-Japan Alliance" 


While the nature of security is transforming, alliances remain as the centre of foreign policymaking in the contemporary era. Although such ideas as “the end of alliances” and “the end of alliance theories” have been discussed with the emergence of “coalition of willingness”, alliances continuously evolved in the post-Cold War and post-9.11 contexts. The forms of security are transforming by comprehending not only the traditional but also non-traditional types consisting of peacekeeping operations (PKO), humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR), global commons and energy security. In the face of alternating and malleable international security surroundings, alliances have been reshaped. Yet, alliances remain to be treated as mere military alliances rather than political ones in the realm of the IR scholarship and the negative perception on the interdependence of allies still exist which may have limited the understanding about alliance relationships in the post-Cold War period.

This PhD thesis is aimed at refining the theory of alliance by incorporating the neo-Gramscian account of hegemony which is crucial to be taken into consideration. This research project is intended to go beyond the military understanding of alliances. In light of alliance politics, it is important to explore not only material but also economic and ideational aspect of alliances. In consideration of the current circumstances, it seems that it is not only material elements that have bolstered the alliance and this underlines the importance of examining other elements, such as the ideology. Although some literature addresses the causes of the continuity of alliances (Walt 1997), there have not been in-depth investigations about the durability of the U.S.-Japan alliance, particularly within the International Relations (IR) frameworks. Furthermore, the alliance may have deeply embedded in the Japanese society as the pillar of Japanese foreign policy which is another aspect that shall be examined.

Current Research Projects

・ "Informal Political Actors in East Asia, Russia and the Arab World" funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and British Academy Language Based Area Studies (LBAS) Funding

・ “Reassessing Japan’s Role as an Intellectual Hub in International Relations: Contingent Encounters between Europe, Japan, and East Asia (provisional title)”, which is a follow-up project of the International Studies Association's (ISA) 56th Annual Convention