Middle Powers and the Behavioural Model

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The behavioural model comprises a major theoretical tradition in the field of middle powers since it identifies the distinct behavioural patterns in the diplomacy of these states. Its relevance, however, has been questioned since it continues to rely on older definitions of middle power behaviour and places emphasis on diplomatic preferences rather than influence. To strengthen the relevance of the behavioural model, this article proposes an additional distinctive category that prioritises ideational influence and entrepreneurial effectiveness as key prerequisites for identifying middle powers. The article examines the cases of Brazil and South Africa to argue that states classified as middle powers must not only pursue the diplomatic preferences and strategies that comprise middle power internationalism, but also display the capacity to advance and secure their preferred outcomes at the international level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-69
Number of pages23
JournalGlobal Society
Issue number1
Early online date03 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 02 Jan 2018


  • Middle powers
  • Behavioural model
  • Internationalism
  • Brazil
  • South Africa


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