a1 Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article provides a framework for the comparative study of international systems. By analyzing how international systems are framed, scripted, and performed, it is possible to understand how interstate relations are interpreted in different historical periods and parts of the world. But such an investigation also has general implications—inter alia for a study of the nature of power, the role of emotions in foreign policymaking, and public opinion formation. Case studies are provided by the Sino-centric, the Tokugawa, and the Westphalian systems. As this study shows, the two East Asian systems were in several respects better adapted than the Westphalian to the realities of international politics in the twenty-first century.
Erik Ringmar is Zhi Yuan Chair Professor of International Relations at Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, People's Republic of China. He can be reached at email@example.com.
I am grateful to Jeffrey Alexander, Mohd Azhari Abdul Karim, David Kang, François Gemenne, Vilho Harle, Peter Katzenstein, Jorg Kustermans, Jason Mast, Saga Ringmar, Shogo Suzuki, Laurence Tubiana, Yana Zuo, and my fellow members of the Shanghai School of International Political Studies for comments on an earlier version. Helpful comments were also provided by audiences at Sciences-Po, Universiti Sains Malaysia, University of Tampere, and University of Antwerp. As always the resources assembled at www.archive.org proved invaluable.