Grading greatness

Grading greatness: evaluating the status performance of the BRICS

"The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) sought elevated status in international society long before Goldman Sachs gave them their ubiquitous moniker. Indeed, beyond the minimalistic yet fuzzy characteristics of being big and growing relatively quickly, the strongest commonality among the BRICS is their governments’ explicit desire to acquire higher social status. Indeed, international relations (IR) scholars have thoroughly documented the various status strategies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The overall conclusion of these studies is unidirectional: status concerns the BRICS a great deal, and informs their foreign policy choices. However, while a status lens has proved fruitful for understanding these countries’ foreign policies, none of these case studies has systematically attempted to assess to what extent these status-seeking policies have fulfilled their purpose of generating status for their country.7 In this article, we address these empirical and methodological lacunae by developing a means of illuminating the international status of these countries through their level of received diplomatic representation. By comparing this measure to these countries’ material capabilities, here envisioned as their available status resources, we also are able to address the BRICS’ relative status performance and thus assess which has been the most successful in generating status from their status seeking, given their material means".

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Published 10. January 2019 - 15:20 - Updated 29. October 2020 - 8:15