Why do great powers pursue global leadership? - a literature review

Christel Margrethe Mattsson, Camilla Henriette Qvistgaard Madsen, Obaidullah Abdulhaq & Rebecca Elise Glitfeldt

Studenteropgave: Kandidatprojekt


The purpose of this review is to uncover theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches in the literature dealing with the question, “Why do great powers pursue global leadership?” The aim is to uncover any gaps that exist in this body of literature.

In the first section of the review, the different theoretical perspectives are outlined. This also includes a review of literature specific to the role of leadership in global politics. The second section of the literature review looks at the methods applied by the scholars included in the first section. The third section details four different gaps to be filled by future studies: three theoretical and one methodological. These gaps identify: the need for further studies on mechanisms used by states and international institutions; the need for incorporating non-state actors in analyses of global power dynamics; the need for more theory development that more aptly reflects the contemporary global order; and lastly, the need for a higher degree of methodological transparency in future research.

The review concludes with a discussion of the implications of the question posed, and considers to what degree this body of literature sufficiently answers the question of why great powers pursue global leadership.

UddannelserGlobal Studies, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato31 maj 2018
Antal sider33
VejledereLaust Schouenborg


  • Great powers
  • Global leadership
  • literature review