The Global South: building a post-Western world

Dec 14, 2023 | Publications, Working Papers (en) |

Susanne Gratius and Matías Mongan.

This study by Susanne Gratius and Matías Mongan analyses the term “Global South” as a conceptual alternative to previous terms such as “third world” or “developing countries”. This term symbolises an emancipatory movement and a new perspective on global power.

The paper explores its academic and political relevance, objectives, achievements and limitations, emphasising the diversity of theoretical approaches, material resources, regional characteristics and its interaction with nations such as China, Turkey and Russia. It ends with a discussion of the definition of the Global South, its membership, leadership, agendas and constraints.

Over the last twenty years, especially since the creation of the BRIC bloc, the debate on emerging nations has evolved towards the more inclusive notion of the Global South. This concept, unlike its predecessors that had negative connotations, acts as a political catchword representing the growing international influence and collective voice of a diverse group of non-Western countries. Despite its diversity, the Global South challenges the hegemony of the United States and its allies, representing a post-Western world with lower per capita incomes and a shared history of colonialism or occupation.

The report highlights that, although the Global South is difficult to define by material indicators, it aspires to form a counter-hegemonic alliance, challenging the established world order and promoting a fairer and more equitable representation in the international distribution of wealth.


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