Chapter 1: Strategic partnerships, international politics and IR theory
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Strategic partnerships are the ‘new normal’ in International Relations. They emerged at the close of the twentieth century and are most likely here to stay for the decades to come. The acquis académiques on strategic partnerships is thriving in the business and economics literature, wherefrom it originates. In political science scholarship, a serious theoretical problematizing of the nature and meaning of the concept is, to a wider extent, lacking. This chapter problematizes strategic partnerships as an emerging political category and provides a thematic literature overview. It more closely addresses several domain-featured typologies of strategic partnerships as well as typologies of partnership-constitutive elements. By elucidating on the scholarly achievements and drawbacks from the so far three waves of studies on strategic partnerships, this chapter critically analyses the current situation in the field and develops a plea for a structural-functional analysis of strategic partnerships within the realist-constructivist epistemological framework.