By Christina Stolte (auth.)
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Extra resources for Brazil’s Africa Strategy: Role Conception and the Drive for International Status
Instead they want Rising Powers to develop their own profile and advocate the interests of smaller powers vis-à-vis the established powers. A possible third aspect speaking against social mobility might also be the international role conception of a Rising Power itself. As most Rising Powers have a notion of a proper and independent role for themselves in the international community of states, they might consider it humiliating and inacceptable to leave behind their own ideas and adopt those of the Great Powers.
While disassociating themselves from the lower status group, states that pursue a social mobility strategy emulate the practices of the higher status group, thereby trying to convince the others to recognize it as a state of the category and standing to which this behavior is associated (Ringmar 2002:121– 122). Imitating practices and behavior that are associated with a social position is also referred to as social mimicking (Johnston 2007) or roleplaying (Stets/Thai 2010:711). ). Whether states adopt a social mobility strategy depends in the first place on the permeability of the boundaries of the higher status group they seek admission to.
In other words, a state may believe in its entitlement to a special role in the international society and can consider itself a Great Power, yet, if the other states in the international society do not acknowledge it to deserve this special rank, it will not attain it. As Andrew Hurrell noted, “a state can claim Great Power status, but membership of the club of Great Powers is a social category that depends on recognition by others: by your peers in the club, but also by smaller and weaker states willing to accept the legitimacy and authority of those at the top of the international hierarchy” (Hurrell 2006:4).