Christoph Rothenbücher


Christoph Rothenbücher

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter/Kollegiat
DFG-Graduiertenkolleg „Deutungsmacht"
Universität Rostock
Universitätsplatz 5
D-18055 Rostock


Chinese attitudes towards rules-based international orders

Meanings of power and powers of meaning in international relations

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the pandemic and Beijing’s new Silkroad (officially “Belt and Road Initiative” – BRI; and its dubious future after the invasion) complicated the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) status in the international community, urging the question what rules-based international orders and the dispositions of rising powers towards them are. The world order experiences a metamorphosis and the reactions to this are manifold and of outstanding interest to International Relations Studies (IR). World order describes the cultural, political and material meanings of power. Major conflicts of the early-mid 21st century, however, ignite on the power of meanings: What, if it exists at all, is the weakness of the West? What is the meaning of sovereignty concerning responsibilities to protect but also in the light of border infringements? How do legitimacy and democracy correlate?

The PRC’s answers to those questions are separated into the two categories of Peaceful China Diplomacy and Rising China Diplomacy, into which this research project classifies the dispositions that determine Chinese practice in international relations. The empirical basis for the categories are Chinese political philosophy or IR, publications on the BRI, Queer IR input like “banning sissy men while promoting wolf warriors” and field research in Taiwan and the PRC – all of which feeds into one of the two categories articulating Chinese dispositions.

Examining the PRC’s position in the international political field and its dispositions towards the rules-systems of this field (and practices formed in the encounter of position and disposition) is inspired by a Bourdieusian field-habitus-analysis. Bourdieu’s sociology has been integrated into IR study by Rebecca Adler-Nissen and others and is part of the recent progress in developing the English School of IR further. A development also including the incorporation of Chinese political philosophy of IR; all three of which – Bourdieu’s sociology, the English School as well as Chinese IR theory – are based on a relational ontology and thus eventually synergizing into a cutting edge perspective on meanings of power and powers of meaning.



  • Chinesische politische Philosophien internationaler Beziehungen
  • Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) / neue Seidenstraßen
  • Institutionalistische Theorien internationaler Politik
  • Normen-/Überzeugungssysteme in internationalen Beziehungen


04/2020 – aktuell                   wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Graduiertenkolleg "Deutungsmacht" / Universität Rostock

04/2018 – aktuell                   Promotion Internationale Politik / Universität Rostock    

10/2013 – 03/2016                Chinese Studies – M. A. / Universität Würzburg

08/2014 – 02/2015                Chinese Studies – M. A. / Peking University

09/2009 – 08/2012                Modern China – B. A. / Universität Würzburg

03/2011 – 07/2011                Modern China – B. A. / Peking University