Decrypting China’s Self-Image as “Great Power”

This paper explores the visual representation of the Chinese concept of daguo (literally: great power/major power) based on the 2017 CCTV documentary Daguo Waijiao大国外交 (Major Power Diplomacy). Drawing on a combination of select streams of National Role Theory (NRT) and Social Identity Theory (SIT), the paper assesses the Chinese role claims and visualized role performance vis-à-vis two significant others, the Soviet Union/Russia and the US. The coding of select cases of the PRC’s daguo role enactment sheds light on the conceptual, socio-psychological underpinnings of China’s self-identity and global status reflections in the 21st century and hence offers some rare insight into the black box of the hermetically closed Chinese party-state.

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