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Title: The translation of politics and the politics of translation : a study on the Chinese translations of Kenneth Waltz's 'Theory of International Politics'
Author: Shangguan, Lingbo
ISNI:       0000 0004 7971 2835
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis examines translation of knowledge claims in the discipline of International Relations (IR). Specifically, it compares and contrasts Kenneth Waltz's Theory of International Politics with its Chinese editions and assesses how some key disciplinary concepts have become both transformed and transformative in the process of translation. Drawing on insights from Reinhart Koselleck's conceptual history and Karl Mannnheim's stylistic approach to the sociology of knowledge, this thesis pursues two lines of argument, one synchronic and one diachronic. Synchronically, it argues that the Chinese language's inherent empiricism has resulted in the change of the ontological status of the selected concepts in the Chinese translations of Waltz's text. This has in turn caused a decrease in the explanatory powers in the Chinese version of Waltz's argument as well as the collapse of the deductive epistemology that Waltz deploys in his theorisation of international politics. Diachronically, the study argues the changes in the translations of the selected concepts in the second Chinese edition has manifested a certain politics of translation which was caused by the changing style of thought in Chinese IR scholarship from "Western learning", which emerged in the mid-nineteenth century, to "Chinese IR", which became prominent from the early 2000s. "Chinese IR" as a new style of thought then presented a distinct way of thinking among Chinese IR scholars which manifested linguistically in their attempt to manipulate the translations of the selected concepts. The thesis concludes with the importance in interrogating the role language plays in creating a more inclusive discipline of IR.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available