2015
DOI: 10.1017/s0260210515000327
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The nomadic other: Ontological security and the Inner Asian steppe in historical East Asian international politics

Abstract: A growing literature in IR addresses the historical international politics of East Asia prior to Western influence. However, this literature has taken little note of the role of Eurasian steppe societies and empires in these dynamics. This article offers a corrective, showing that relations between China and the steppe played an important role in regional politics. I argue that Chinese elite conceptions of the steppe as other played an important role in maintaining China’s ontological security. Imperial Chines… Show more

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Cited by 18 publications
(5 citation statements)
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“…The imperial atlas made with the help of European Jesuits depicting the vast expanse of the Eurasian continent is indicative of a nomadic outlook typical of the Eurasian Steppe, rather than a sedentary understanding of space siloed in a fixed space-society relationship (Dunnell et al, 2004; Neumann and Wigen, 2013: 314). In contrast to the boundless imperial vision of Eurasia, the Mongols, Manchus and Han subjects are confined to their ethnically defined administrative and geographic limits (MacKay, 2015: 490; Perdue, 1998: 266). In contrast, the complete map focuses on depicting the bureaucratic Chinese administrative divisions of prefectures known as the Junxian (郡縣)system and there reflects a Sinocentric form of territoriality which produces territorial order based on the perceived civility of the inhabitants of a place.…”
Section: Manchu Qing and Sinocentric Cartographies And Territorialitiesmentioning
confidence: 99%
See 1 more Smart Citation
“…The imperial atlas made with the help of European Jesuits depicting the vast expanse of the Eurasian continent is indicative of a nomadic outlook typical of the Eurasian Steppe, rather than a sedentary understanding of space siloed in a fixed space-society relationship (Dunnell et al, 2004; Neumann and Wigen, 2013: 314). In contrast to the boundless imperial vision of Eurasia, the Mongols, Manchus and Han subjects are confined to their ethnically defined administrative and geographic limits (MacKay, 2015: 490; Perdue, 1998: 266). In contrast, the complete map focuses on depicting the bureaucratic Chinese administrative divisions of prefectures known as the Junxian (郡縣)system and there reflects a Sinocentric form of territoriality which produces territorial order based on the perceived civility of the inhabitants of a place.…”
Section: Manchu Qing and Sinocentric Cartographies And Territorialitiesmentioning
confidence: 99%
“…In IR, the historiography of China as a singular and continuous entity compounded by the additional layer of essentialised Otherness works to inhabit critical enquires into the historicity of modern China and the contested nature of China as ethnic, racial and modern territorial toponyms (see Krishna, 2017; MacKay, 2015, 2019; Phillips, 2014, 2018 for exceptions). The isomorphism between modern China and the Qing Empire has served as a vantage point for a modern theological understanding of China as a singular national subject moving through history (Duara, 1995).…”
Section: Rescuing Territory From the Nationmentioning
confidence: 99%
“…The gradual emergence and elaboration of a cosmopolitan notion of harm, and of harm reduction as a moral principle, is one such example (Linklater, 2011). Another is the emergence and management of self-other relations between China and the nomadic communities of the Inner Asian steppe, producing normative categories and their maintenance in practice (Mackay, 2016). A third is the emergence of a relatively stable set of identities and relations across religious divides (and their associated territories and institutions) in Europe, which occurred through intense social movement contestation (Nexon, 2009).…”
Section: Normative Transformation Practices and Relationsmentioning
confidence: 99%
“…Compounding this handicap, ‘barbarians’ were themselves ambivalent — and sometimes actively hostile — to sublimating their own identity within Confucian frameworks. Joseph MacKay (2016: 476–477) has eloquently demonstrated the centrality of the civilized–barbarian divide in shoring up China’s ‘ontological security’ in its interactions with non-Confucian polities. The flip side to this, though, is the threat to ontological security that ‘barbarian’ conquerors themselves often saw in Sinicization.…”
Section: Civilization Barbarism and Hierarchy In Historical East Asiamentioning
confidence: 99%