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Globalization and the social state

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 October 1998

Abstract

One of the most common themes in the vast literature on globalization is that it is gradually undermining the state by making it meaningless if not obsolete. This article is a contribution to the growing body of literature that seeks to challenge that thesis. It does so by arguing that there are two distinct sets of processes at work in contemporary world politics: globalization and interstate interaction. While the former tends to break down territorial boundaries and replace them with new, uniform configurations of power, money and culture, the latter reconfirms territorial boundaries and the structures and processes contained by them. The interaction among states, which is often ignored by globalization theorists, may best be understood by situating it within the traditional international relations concept of an international society, provided that this is redefined to give it a more ‘constructivist’ orientation.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 1997 Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

I should like to thank the UK Economic and Social Research Council for funding the research on which this article is based, and the anonymous referees of the Review, and Alexander Wendt and others who heard a version of this paper at the 1997 International Studies Association conference, for their valuable comments.
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