“The BRICS and the Future of Global Order” by Oliver Stuenkel




The BRICS and the Future of Global Order. By Oliver Stuenkel. Lexington Press, 268 pages.
ISBN-13: 978-0739193211 ISBN-10: 073919321X

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"The role and importance of the so-called BRICS has been hotly debated for a decade, but it has not been studied in a systematic way until now. Oliver Stuenkel’s balanced and richly detailed work demonstrates that the BRICS are neither a coherent coalition seeking to overturn the global balance of power nor a passing fad of little importance. Instead, his analysis shows that cooperation among the BRICS seeks to foster the gradual emergence of a legitimate and rule-based multipolar order, and to press the United States and its allies to follow existing global rules more consistently. This nuanced and clearly-written book offers an illuminating glimpse into the future of global politics."

Stephen Walt, Harvard Kennedy School


"This is the best book on BRICS written to date. It brilliantly analyzes the origins of the group, the nature and scope of intra-BRICS cooperation, and its impact on world order. It is required reading for anyone interested in the emerging trends in world politics."

Amitav Acharya, UNESCO Chair in Transnational Challenges and Governance, American University


"For academics and practitioners in the North, this very readable book is an excellent crash-course introduction to the quirks of emerging market foreign policy, providing more nuance and more context than can typically be gleaned from the pages of The Economist and the Financial Times." (International Affairs)

Sean Burges, Australian National University (ANU)


"As a reference work, this book should go a long way in generating academic interest on a topic increasingly important to understand in a rapidly changing world." (International Studies Review)

Harsh V. Pant, King's College London


"In detailing the evolution of BRICS from 2009 to 2015 and in covering a full cycle of meetings that would be completed when Russia hosts the summit in 2015, the book covers every milestone in the path traversed hitherto. More importantly, it makes some substantive political points, apart from the chronological narrative (...) BRICS is an illustration of the “manyness” in multilateralism reflecting a multipolar world with new powers and diverse interests. Its promise and prospects in the next decade are worthy of study and Stuenkel will be a good guide in doing so." (Indian Journal of Diplomacy) 

B. S. Prakash, Former Indian Ambassador to Brazil


"A very valuable guide to the BRICS as an international actor, and (...) the most informative account [on the topic] that I have read."

Ray Kiely, Queen Mary University of London


"This book is the first to look at what the formation of the BRICS actually means in terms of geopolitics and economic opportunities." (Business New Europe) 

Chris Weafer


"This book is a must read for anyone interested in the BRICS and is highly recommended for undergraduate, graduate students, and faculty. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels."

CHOICE, Current Reviews for Academic Libraries


"Stuenkel [...] raises many important issues concerning the future of global governance, reform of the international financial system, perceptions of sovereignty in the non-Western world, and the political economy of inequality." (Jornal of Political Power)

Ekaterina Koldunova


"Many Western scholars have been questioning the "BRICS countries" and the continued existence of the concept. Oliver Stuenkel's new book, "The Future of the BRIC and the Future of the Global Order," responds to these criticisms and doubts."

Lei Wang


"Para aqueles que buscam compreender essas mudanças na ordem global e as nuances do comportamento dos países emergentes, o livro é ponto de partida obrigatório." (Mural Internacional) 

Débora Coutinho Cunha


"Stuenkel gives a detailed ‘under-the-hood’ assessment of the BRICS forum, which is a necessary corrective to simplistic conclusions of the forum’s potential or demise. (...) required reading for any scholar who wants to prepare for the year ahead and beyond." (Australia Outlook) 

Akshay Mathur is the Director of Research and a Fellow of Geoeconomic Studies at Gateway House, India


"This book is a plate-full of references allowing for further reading and research." (Modern Diplomacy) 

Gabriela Pascholati do Amaral


"A critical “historical biography" of the BRICS concept, making it suitable for a wider audience and satisfying both the needs of experienced researchers and readers in general." (Europe-Asia Studies)

João Mourato Pinto


"O teor do livro incentiva os leitores a considerar outros estudos sobre o bloco no intuito de entender sua relevância e promessa." (Revista de Estudos Internacionais)

Wagner Martins dos Santos


"O livro contribui significativamente para os estudos das potências emergentes ao corrigir visões e leituras generalistas sobre o tema." (Conjuntura Austral/ Journal of the Global South)

André Sanches Siqueira Campos



The transformation of the BRIC acronym from an investment term into a household name of international politics and, more recently, into a semi-institutionalized political outfit (called BRICS, with a capital ‘S’), is one of the defining developments in international politics in the past decade. While the concept is now commonly used in the general public debate and international media, there has not yet been a comprehensive and scholarly analysis of the history of the BRICS term. The BRICS and the Future of Global Order offers a definitive reference history of the BRICS as a term and as an institution—a chronological narrative and analytical account of the BRICS concept from its inception in 2001 to the political grouping it is today. In addition, it analyzes what the rise of powers like Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa means for the future of global order. Will the BRICS countries seek to establish a parallel system with its own distinctive set of rules, institutions, and currencies of power, rejecting key tenets of liberal internationalism, or will they seek to embrace the rules and norms that define today’s Western-led order?

About the Author

Oliver Stuenkel is assistant professor of international relations at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV) in São Paulo, where he coordinates the São Paulo branch of the School of History and Social Science (CPDOC) and the executive program in international relations.


Read also:

Interview with Oliver Stuenkel: Why the BRICS will remain an important force in world affairs in 2015 and beyond (The Diplomat)

An Interview with Oliver Stuenkel on the BRICS

In Brisbane, BRICS reaffirm commitment to establish joint development bank