Dr. David BARTOSCH Talked About Cultural Strategies in International Relations from a Philosophical Perspective With The Case of China and the Contemporary World

Dr. David BARTOSCH, Distinguished Research Fellow of Research Institute for Globalization and Cultural Strategies, Beijing Normal University, delivered a speech titled Cultural Strategies in International Relations: The Case of China and the Contemporary World from a Philosophical Perspective at United International College (UIC) on March 11, 2022, which is included in Contemporary World and China Lecture Series.


Dr. David BARTOSCH discussed the topic from a philosophical angle on the basis of some sets of theoretical interrelated questions: What is culture? What is a strategy? What are cultural strategies? How can we, or how should we understand the term ‘international relations’ concerning the contemporary world? How can the new concept of cultural strategies developed on occasion of this lecture be related to international relations? What role does the case of China present us with in regard to international relations? What makes Chinese culture special? How should Chinese culture be maintained and nurtured under these contemporary circumstances?


Dr. David BARTOSCH defined culture by illustrating both intention and scope of his concept starting from a transcultural perspective on ancient philosophies. He pointed out in whatever level or field combining the ancient philosophers’ thoughts that all the descriptions of culture imply that culture is a process of refinement realized by living human beings and always also should be related to a moral foundation. He compared stratagems with strategies as the latter one was aimed for long-term goals while the former one was not to state the definition of cultural strategies. He highlighted that the purpose of cultural strategies is to maintain and to promote the multitude of mankind's cultural achievements as a whole and to facilitate the mutual communication of civilization. When analyzing international relations in the sense of a subject of theoretical study, Dr. BARTOSCH introduced three main strings approaches in western world which respectively are Liberalism, Realism and Constructivism. He traced the history of international relations and globalization to the Bronze Age while long before Western civilization emerged. BARTOSCH emphasized it would be helpful to develop some parallel and connected new concepts such as intercultural and intercivilizational relations to enrich and broaden the meaning and system of international relations as a subject of study.  Here, cultural strategies would have to play an essential role. Based on that, Dr. BARTOSCH developed a new concept of Harmonic Power, namely in contrast to to the term 'Soft Power'. He argued that culture in the sense of his concept is part of unified and mutually beneficial Harmonious Power and that Chinese cultural strategies should be further developed on the foundation of Harmonic Power. Global cultural win-win communication and development can only be promoted by Harmonic Power which is an essential approach to create multi-polar world. It is Chinese culture and its civilization that has to play a major role in developing a future for mankind. It is China’s task to improve its own Harmonic Power and to assist the growth of it in other civilizations and nations. China should bear the responsibility of being the world connector, the world balancer and the world unifier in the contemporary world. Dr. David BARTOSCH pined his hope on China in regard to worldwide issues, and he emphasized that China has to fulfill a historical function which has been foreseen by important thinkers in the 19th and 20th centuries.


The speech ended up with the Q&A session where Dr. David BARTOSCH took several questions from students which mainly discussed about the core competitiveness of Chinese culture, the understanding of Chinese policy, the differences between Chinese culture and western's.

Writing: Isabella, WU

Picture: Alexander, BAI