This article assesses the general significance for International Relations theory of the literature on globalization. It argues that globalization is a pervasively unsettling process which needs to be explained not only as an issue in its own right but for the insight which it affords into cognate areas of theory. In short, it advances an analytical model whereby globalization itself can be understood and utilizes this as a theoretical scheme that may be applied more generally. The predominant conceptualization of the globalization issue within International Relations has been the debate between the proponents of state redundancy and the champions of continuing state potency. In turn, these arguments rest upon an image of state capacities being eroded by external forces, or alternatively of external forces being generated by state action. In either case, there is the assumed duality of the state(s) set off from, and ranged against, a seemingly external environment. Instead, this article argues that the state occupies a middle ground between the internal and external and is itself both shaped by and formative of the process of globalization.
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