Much of recent international relations literature argues conflicts to achieve or to frustrate regional dominance will become more virulent in the future. In this context we examine different approaches in international relations theory regarding the role and importance which they attribute to regional powers. We discuss diverse theoretical approaches that address the topics of power relations and power hierarchies in international politics. Marking differences as well as common grounds with the more traditional concept of 'middle powers', we sketch an analytical concept of regional powers adequate for contemporary international relations research. The paper concludes with reflections on the relationship between regional powers and regional integration and a short discussion of the analytical value of the concept of cooperative hegemony for the study of regional powers.
International Relations Power Power Transition Regional Powers Middle Powers Cooperative Hegemony