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Building the normative dimension(s) of a global polity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 March 2004


Globalisation is not what it used to be. Earlier debates over how to read the indicators of economic liberalisation and the impact of technological expansion have now been joined by the increasingly pressing need to explore the social, environmental and political aspects of global change. Earlier discussions emphasised a number of dichotomies within the international political economy – open/closed, state/market and so on. These have proved limited in their ability to inform explanations of change under conditions of globalisation. To these we must now add what we might call the ‘governance from above’, ‘resistance from below’ dichotomy as a popular metaphor for understanding order and change in international relations under conditions of globalisation. But this new binary axis is in many ways as unsatisfactory as those that went before. It too can obscure as much as it reveals in terms of understanding the normative possibilities of reforming globalisation. In this article we wish to suggest that there is perhaps a more useful way of thinking about politics and the changing contours of political life in the contemporary global order. This approach blurs the distinction between governance and resistance by emphasising an ethical take on globalisation.

Research Article
© 2003 British International Studies Association

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