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Cambridge University Press
Published in Barry Buzan and Yongjin Zhang (eds), Contesting International Society in East Asia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014, pp. 29-50.
This chapter reconceptualises historical East Asian politics by distinguishing between an international society of Chinese hegemony and one of rival equality. It discusses the institutions of these two international societies, offers a new interpretation of the tribute system and identifies other important institutions that have hitherto been neglected in the literature. The chapter seeks to examine the social structure and institutional practices of historical East Asian politics before the Western intrusion in the mid-nineteenth century by presenting a preliminary framework grounded in English School theory. The framework may prove controversial, but within the limits of the chapter it serves as an invitation to debate a very complex and important subject.