Status, imitation, and affective dissonance in international relations

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This article explores the interplay of status, imitation and affective dissonance in international relations. Some states and nations selectively imitate others to correct perceived status deficits. Over time imitation can diminish ideals of group distinctiveness and independence from models and norm-setters, stimulating a condition we term affective dissonance. This complex of processes underlies some tensions in contemporary world politics. We apply the propositions to case studies of Russia and China whose leaders assert themselves as the principal loci and prescribers of national authenticity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)634-656
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Relations
Issue number4
Early online date21 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • affective dissonance
  • hierarchy
  • identity
  • imitation
  • norms
  • status


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