1 The state and globalisation






Key Concepts: Sovereignty; Nation state; Non-state actors; Globalisation; Economic globalisation; Political globalisation ;Cultural globalisation; Homogenisation and monoculture; Interconnectedness World government; Global governance.

Key Content

1.1 The state: nation-state and of national sovereignty.

1.1.1 Characteristics of a nation state and of national sovereignty.

• Nation-state – political community bound together by citizenship and nationality.

• National sovereignty – the state’s absolute power over citizens and subjects.

1.2 Globalisation.

1.2.1 The process of globalisation:

• complex web of interconnectedness – the factors driving globalisation are the interlinking of people (social), countries, institutions, culture, economics, technology and politics.

1.2.2 Its impact on the state system.

• Widening and deepening interconnectedness and interdependence.

• Challenge to state control over citizens in areas such as law.

• On the development of international law.

• Humanitarian and forcible intervention.

• The debate between hyperglobalisers, globalisation sceptics and transformationalists, including the realist and liberal views.

1.3 Debates about the impact of globalisation including its advantages and disadvantages.

• The impact of globalisation, and its implications for the nation state and national sovereignty.

1.4 The ways and extent to which globalisation addresses and resolves contemporary issues, such as poverty, conflict, human rights and the environment.

Is The Nation State Dying Out?

3.1 Nationhood, the state and sovereignty/ Globalisation/ ​impact on warfare /conflict /human rights /environment /global poverty and development.

1648 The Peace of Westphalia – establishment of the nation state, following the 30 years war.

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Gradual development of nation-states 18th and 19th C.

Realists hold a State-centric view of international politics called the billiard ball model



Strengths and weaknesses. ​

Strengths – states are undoubtedly still important; states do interact and shape each other through foreign policy; multilateral institutions rely upon the cooperation of states in order to function (Realist) ​

Weaknesses: states are not equal (Hierarchy of states neorealist); excludes NGOs IGOs, TNCs . (Liberal)

Brenner, 2004, Dual Process theory – Internal AND External sovereignty

​Internal Sovereignty – ​ability to impose internal order, stability, cohesion and control & also refers to the location of power within the state for example parliamentary sovereignty

Sovereignty may be defined as sole legislative authority within a clearly defined set of territorial boundaries, recognised as sovereign borders by other sovereign states. ​

Montevideo Convention (1933) established  4 Characteristics of sovereignty.

​1. recognised borders;

2.permanent stable population

3. effective government with the ability to impose internal order, stability, cohesion and control; (ALL INTERNAL)

4​ . capacity to enter into external foreign relations. ​(EXTERNAL);

I​nternal – unchallengeable authority within state borders

The state also enjoys a monopoly of the legitimate means of violence, ​Weber, Monopoly of Coercive powers and ​a monopoly of fiscal powers Schumpeter​, 1919).

Hobbes – Leviathan 1651- (The Strong Coercive state fulfilling the requirement of imposing internal order, stability, cohesion and control) – Alternatively – “​ A War of All against All” where “life is poor, solitary, nasty, brutish and short.”

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External sovereignty (Article 2.1 of UN Charter) – legal sovereign equality of states.

Principle of non-interference and the inviolability of borders, (Article 2.7 of UN Charter)


Instruments of foreign Policy: Trade, Treaties, Conventions, Memberships, Diplomacy, Sanctions and War. ​

Bobbit (2002) the state is a:

warmaking institution

​Sovereignty in practice – ​NEOREALIST – hierarchy of states (strong prey on the weak); imperialism, dilution and erosion of the norm of non-intervention.

There are also what may be called Liberal erosions of sovereignty

R2P (2005) ICISS ​International Commission For intervention for State Sovereignty ​- 2001, Article 25 reconfigured:

Article 25. “The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter.

e.g. Libya (UNSCR 1973) – rise of humanitarian intervention. ​

Transition from absolute sovereignty to conditional sovereignty.

Relevance of sovereignty – realist belief that states, and therefore sovereignty, remain key to global politics; sovereignty as basis for international law (sovereignty preserves freedom; norm of non-interference in international politics;) ​

Economic Integration: Erosion of sovereignty ​and development of ‘post-sovereign’ states – LIBERALISM – economic globalization loss of economic sovereignty – Deterritorialization – (Jones, 2014). ​

Rise of Regionalism e.g EU (Pooling of Sovereignty and Supranational authority and jurisdiction),and the requirement to incorporate the ​Acquis Communautaire also

N​AFTA, (Now called the USCMA) MERCOSUR, ASEAN, ​Global – ​WTO, 164 – IMF, 189 (Imposing SAPs-Structural adjustment policies – Greece and IMF/ECB imposed austerity) World Bank, (SAPs) G7, G20; ​

Political – ​end of cold war, decolonisation, rise of states (193 UN Members compared to 51 in 1945), spread of democratic forms of government, (Especially Eastern Europe) UN, OSCE. ​

Military – ​NATO – Article 5 of the Washington Treaty 1949 requires states to respond to calls for collective action, and therefore limit states freedom of choice and where and when to commit to military action. ​

Resurgence of sovereignty/return of the state e.g Brexit, USA withdrawal from ICJ (1984); Kyoto (1997) and Rome Statute (1998)/(2002 G.W. Bush) Withdrawal from Paris Climate Change Agreement – Signs that states are not eroding –

1. Military expenditure increasing;


2. Globalisation Scepticism.

3. State Central banks bailed out the (too big to fail…?) banking sector;

4. State-building and peace-building by the UN

Permeable borders and transnational actors such as corporations, NGOs – terrorist groups, Greenpeace and Amnesty international exert global influence, and state security is as likely to be threatened by organizations such as al-Qaeda as it is by other states; ​

Bobbitt (2002) The rise of the Market State/ Captive State George Monbiot (2000) – Corporations take over democratic institutions,

Internationalisation of the state (Cox, 1994) ​Weak states (‘failed states’) Somalia, Libya (UNSCR, 1973 – 2011), Syria and arguably Iraq. ​

Stewart Patrick, 2017 ​The Sovereignty Wars -​ ​sovereignty involves a trade-off between autonomy and influence.


D​efinition: Evans and Newham 1998 ​–

A process whereby state centric agencies and term of reference are dissolved in favour of a structure that is truly global rather than merely international​

Deterritorialisation (Jones 2014)

5​ Main types

1. Economic Globalisation;

2. Political

3. Cultural

4. Technological

5. Environmental

N​ature of globalization – widening and deepening of interconnectedness and interdependence- liberals refer to this as complex interdependence;

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E​conomic globalization

1. neoliberalism; interlocking financial markets and transnational capital flows;

2. increases in world trade 1960 volumes of global trade were $600bn; in 2013 they were valued at $22.4tn; ​

3. Scholte (2005)

borderless world

4. WTO;

5. Structural Adjustment Policies (IMF and World Bank);

6. McDonaldisation – the process by which the principles of the fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society as well as of the rest of the world. (Ritzer, 1993);

C​ultural globalization

1. Cultural homogeneity; information and communications revolution; time/space compression

2. Hegemony/Cultural imperialism. ​(Gramsci)

3. Culture refers to the way of life of a people; their beliefs, values, and practices which is the universal basis for personal and social identity. Culture, therefore, embodies language, religion, traditions, social norms, moral principles, and the shared history of a society.

4. Cultural globalisation is the process whereby information, commodities and images that have been produced in one part of the world enter into a global flow that tends to ‘flatten out’ cultural differences between nations, regions and individuals.

5. It is a complex process closely associated with economic globalisation that generates both homogenization, polarization and diversity. Critique of Cultural Globalisation – ​

6. Cultural globalisation has been seen to serve the interests of economic globalisation, thereby advancing the interests of transnational corporations. This has resulted in a global consumer culture where criticisms have arisen to the strength and hegemony of these companies.

7. This phenomenon has been referred to as Coca-colonization – a term made popular by Wagnleitner in 1994. This was used as a catchphrase in anti-globalization campaigns to highlight the hegemonic influences of Western brands.

8. Cultural globalisation has been associated with political extremism, as perceived western domination has stimulated the growth of forms of religious fundamentalism and ethnic nationalism.

9. There has been a backlash of civilisations against Western cultural imperialism with the rise of fundamentalism and identity conflict. This was predicted by Samuel Huntington in the ‘Clash of Civilisations?’ (1993) stating that there are growing tensions between the West and Islam, and the West and China. This is due to Middle Eastern resistance to Western cultural imperialism with Eastern states seeking to maintain their identity and culture.

Political globalization

1. global governance; ​Institutions

2. States and markets; The Market State. Bobbitt 2002.

3. However, political globalisation could legitimately be understood to refer to the ​global spread of political ideas such as human rights or of political structures (such as liberal democracy) as predicted by Francis Fukuyama’s end of history thesis. ​The End of History and the Last Man (1992)

Impact of globalization – debate about extent of impact. ​

Hyperglobalizers (economic liberals); Early globalisation theory is best classified as ​hyper-globalism – A strong belief in the rapid globalisation of the world. Historically unprecedented levels of global interconnectedness; ‘Thick’ (intensive (deep) and extensive (wide) globalization; Supraterritorialism; ​a state orprocess in which a supranational authority exercises jurisdiction over subordinate entities;


Reconstituted, restructured new architecture of world order; Transformation of political communities; The reordering of interregional relations i.e. more ​supranationalism​;

Globalization transforming state power and world politics;

​Decline of national economic sovereignty​; PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain); Troika (ECB EC IMF) imposed austerity. There are 164 members in WTO; TTIP, no government can legislate against TNCs and if they do they are hit with punishing fines by the ISDSM;

Massive growths in multinational corporations 1970: 7000 / 2009: 38,000/ 2013, 63,000; Inability of governments to control capital currency flows from around 1980;

Computerization of financial transactions, largely held by global financial banking corporations, the international money markets e.g. HSBC (Largest 17 corporations in the world are banks and other financial institutions);

One of consequences of TNCs is the international distribution of production, is the offshoring of labour, and offshoring of production and consumption​; ​

Hyperglobalists also keep pointing out the effects on ​cultural globalisation; ​Being a hyper-globalist you can either say globalisation is negative or positive, but accepting that globalisation has happened will still make you a hyperglobalist.

Hyper-globalists would also point out a great deal of development in regional and global governance. (e.g. EU, Arab League, African Union, UN) ​

They would also argue that there is a process of increasing ​political globalisation​;​

Globalization sceptics (realists); ​The second period of globalisation theory came to be ​called globalisation scepticism. The case for globalisation has been overstated. The state still exists. Supranational bodies are just a disguise for the states controlling them (Claude, 1962) The nation state persists and remains important (Realist Theory); Globalisation is the opportunity for nation states to enhance their power e.g. new markets, access to cheap labour, access to raw materials, humanitarian intervention; Sceptics try to gather evidence in the extent of how far economic globalisation has actually taken place; The global economy is not uniformly integrated – e.g. Sub-Saharan Africa are much less integrated than the powerhouses of East Asia, Europe and North America.

Protectionism, Europe and the USA in response to imports from growing Asian economies; Levels of global inequality are rising not falling. Globalisation is not producing a benefit for the majority of the population; Global economy is highly internationalised and fragmented and regionalised and it’s not fully globalised; Triadic system ​is that global economy is still divided into global economic powers. North America Western Europe, Eastern European, Asia with Latin America emerging producing a quadratic global economy;

S​ceptics also point out uneven political globalisation. (Zolo, 1997, 2002; Claude 1962) Resurgence of nationalism – e.g. UKIP, The National Front, AfD, Freedom Parties, Golden Dawn, VOX;

T​ransformationalists – ​Luke Martell – Third Wave of Globalisation​. (2007)

This is an attempt to recalibrate both of these positions into some kind of unified position. The spread of globalisation is not as significant as hyperglobalists would say, but also it is not as insignificant as scepticism states.

In an attempt to construct a complex and qualified theory of globalisation and to do that they draw on the previous two waves. Transformationalists are also sometimes called post-sceptics.

It’s a complex attempt arriving at some kind of hybrid between the hyper globalists and the sceptics. Third wave is essentially an attempt to construct a complex and qualified theory of globalisation. E.g. maybe not all states are democratic however some are and have succeeded as a result of it. It is significant, it is happening, but it is varied (the pace, the time, the order)

The world has never been wealthier, there are more global wealth today than any time in history, but at the same time the distribution has become very unequal. Maybe free market is not the best means to achieve economic equality;

​Implications for the state and sovereignty – Tyranny of global markets; Post-sovereign states Market internationalisation of the state, ​Rise of non-state actors ​

1. Transnational corporations (TNCs);

2. ​non-governmental organisations (NGOs), terrorist groups, social movements .

IGOs ​Growth of complex interdependence.

Competition through trade, not war. ​

Growing importance of international bodies – global problems need global solutions; pandemics, terrorism, climate change; ​

Regional and global cooperation Rise of cosmopolitan sensibilities – human rights; development ethics; global civil society; ​

Impact of global economic crisis – ​has this had any impact on the pace of globalisation?

P​ro-globalization arguments​; worldwide prosperity and growth , 900m people lifted out of global poverty; interdependence and dispersal of global power; democratisation; widening ‘zones of peace’ – democratic zones of peace Wildawasky and Singer (1993)

Anti-globalization arguments crisis tendencies in the economy globalization as Americanization

Tyranny of TNCs (threat to democracy); deepening inequality and poverty environmental degradation.

NEW WARS (CONFLICTS)  – Changing nature of war from ‘old’ wars to ‘new’ wars – Mary Kaldor (From New Wars to Old Wars: Organised Violence in a Global Age, (1999; 2007)

Features of conventional wars 

  • armed conflict between states; Iran-Iraq war 1980-1988 And Russian Georgian War 2008.
  • war an extension of politics, (Von Clausewitz, 1831) 
  • clear civilian/military divide
  • The inevitability of war – Thucydides & KN Waltz Man State and War, 1959 – war is intrinsic to human nature. Waltz (2002) “Wars occur because there is nothing to prevent them”
  • Offensive Realism – Mearsheimer (2001) States seek to maximise their power. War is one means by which states can do this, however does not account for intra-state conflict
  • Defensive Realism – Mastanduno – state’s primary concern is to guarantee its own security
  • War is obsolete  – Gray 1997


  • dynamics of power politics as states pursue national interests
  • Classical realists emphasize state egoism. Rivalry is driven the human nature of self-seeking. 
  • Neorealists argue that the international system is anarchic, states are forced to be self-help to achieve survival and security (ensured by maximising military power). 
  • The principal factor distinguishing between war and peace is the balance of power. 
  • States that wish to preserve peace must therefore prepare for war,

“Si vis pacem, para bellum

hoping to deter potential aggressors and avoid predominance of a rival state. However this may give rise to the security dilemma (Booth and Wheeler, 2008, Graham Allison, 2015 – The Thucydides Trap)


  • War arises from three sets of circumstances. 
  • First, liberals accept that state egoism may lead to conflict and a possibility of war. 
  • Second, there is a link to economic nationalism and autarky. (quest for economic self-sufficiency). 
  • Peace can be achieved through free trade, because it make war economically costly. 
  • Third, a state’s disposition to war and peace is determined by its constitutional character. 
  • Authoritarian states, tend to be militaristic, Democratic states tend to be more peaceful, especially to other democratic countries – democratic zones of peace – Max Singer & Aaron WildawaskyThe Real World Order: Zones of Peace/Zones of Turmoil, 1994)


  • Tend to explain war primarily in economic terms – Marxist Analysis 
  • WWI was an imperialist war fought in pursuit of colonial gains in Africa. (Lenin 1970). 
  • War, being the pursuit of economic advantage by other means. 
  • Chomsky- (hegemonic war), powerful states use war to defend or expand their global economic and political interests.

From ‘old’ wars to ‘new’ wars – features of modern or ‘new’ wars 

      • civil wars rather than inter-state wars; Interstate Vs Intra-state; Civil Wars – (Syria, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan (Before the secession of Southern Sudan) and Southern Sudan now. 


    • wars of identity (fuelled by ethnic nationalism or religious radicalism; intractability nature of warfare)
    • use of guerrilla and insurgency tactics
    • asymmetrical war – ‘mismatched’ enemies
  • Post Westphalian
  • Post Structuralist (Post Modern)
  • Post ClausewitzianWhat Von Clausewitz meant is that war was effectively an extension of that state sovereignty/external sovereignty and foreign policy, but because some theorists argue that we are in a post sovereign phase of global politics we are also in a post-Clausewitzian phase of warfare. War is no longer primarily state v. state
  • Post Sovereign

The Nature of Modern Conflict

  • uncertain outcomes – intractability no clear decisive outcomes; wars are more prolonged
  • blurring of civilian/military divide; – irregular fighters; civilian targets; overlaps between war and criminality 
  • Ethnic conflict; Ethnic cleansing; Genocide; War Crimes; Crimes against Humanity; Wars of Aggression
  • International Law and Humanitarian intervention; ICISS; R2P, Conditional Sovereignty
  • Afghanistan and Iraq as ‘new’ wars; 
  • WMD – increased willingness to use chemical weapons Syria; USA in Fallujuah 2004 – Depleted Uranium Munitions; Phosphorous Bombs; Gaza and in first Gulf War
  • Barrel Bombs (Syria/Assad)
  • An increase in breaches of Human Rights: 
    • Genocide, (Rwanda, East Timor) 
    • Ethnic cleansing, (Bosnia and Kosovo) 
    • Summary execution, (Everywhere, including by British soldiers) 
    • Rape as a weapon of warfare (Sierra Leone and Bosnia), 
    • Torture (The CIA and waterboarding), Extraordinary rendition, (USA in cooperation with 55 other states around the world) held without due process or legal representation
    • Wars of aggression (Iraq), 
    • Child Soldiers (Uganda and the DRC), 
    • Insurgency, Kidnap Execution, 
    • Thus new wars are far more likely to be more barbaric than traditional warfare.
  • Challenges to ‘new’ war thesis
    • little genuinely new about such warfare – Algeria; Vietnam; 
    • war has always been barbaric; 
    • civilians have always been targets; 
    • Nothing new about the Arab Spring
  • Escalation in terrorism as a weapon of warfare. 9/11, Nairobi (1998), US embassy in Lebanon (1983), Madrid Train Bombing (2004), London Tube Bombings (7/7, 2005), Bali 2005, Mumbai, (2008) Al Shabbab in Nairobi- 2013, Boko Haram-2013, Nigeria. (Attack on dormitories) Paris attacks November 2015; London and Manchester attacks.
  • Postmodern’ wars– revolution in military affairs; Post Modern ‘virtual war’ and ‘cyber war’ Derian (2001)
    • ‘hi-tech’ weaponry; drones
    • ‘virtual’ warfare; 
    • casualty-less warfare (Kosovo)
    • War on Terror – Highly problematic. Very difficult to wage or conclude decisively  Howard 2002
  • Diaspora / Refugees -Syria Yarmouk, Lebanon, Iraq UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for refugees) Fillipo Grandi 
  • Secessionist Conflicts – Chechnya, Annexation Crimea
  • Timothy Garton Ash –  New World Disorder 2006/08/13
  • Joseph NyeChaotic distributions of power
  • Seamus Milne The Weakness of the Strong – US and UK Intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq was an abject failure
  • Rise of identity politics
  • declining significance of traditional ideological and class solidarities
  • growth of particularisms (based on gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, religion
  • attack on liberal universalism
  • political emancipation through cultural self-assertion and re-definition of identity
  • Religion as a global issue – rise of religious movements; Examples: 
      • Islamic revolution (Iran 1979), 
      • Hezbollah and its links with the Palestinian Liberation movement,
      • HAMAS
      • Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, 
      • Taliban – Afghanistan + Pakistan, 
      • Al Qaeda, Islamic State
      • Boko Haram – Nigeria, 
      • Al – Shabab in Somalia and Kenya
      • Bosnia, Kosovo, 
      • Sikh + Hindu ethnic/religious tensions, 
      • Sinhalese Nationalism in Sri Lanka, 
      • Tibet, 
      • New Right in USA, 
      • Northern Ireland, Catholic/Protestant, 
      • Liberation Theology (Latin America 1960s-1980s)
    • explaining the rise of religion and ‘desecularisation’
    • failure of universalist ideologies – communism, neo-liberalism etc
    • Impact of cultural globalization
      • clash of civilisations thesis Bernard Lewis ‘Roots of Muslim Rage’ (1990)  Samuel P. Huntington (1993) Foreign Affairs Article The Clash of Civilisations? Later published as a book (1996) minus the question mark. Benjamin Barber Jihad Vs McWorld, (1995)
      • Islam vs the West? 
        • rise of Islamic fundamentalism; 
        • advance of Islamism in Iran and elsewhere; 
        • the ‘war on terror’ as a civilisational conflict between Islam and the West?
      • backlash against neo-colonialism, rejection of the hegemonic ambitions of the West, End of Cold War -V – Fukuyama End of History and the Last Man (1992) spread of a) free markets, b) democracy c) human rights
      • Huntington builds on the premise that the “most important distinctions among peoples are not ideological, political, or economic. They are cultural.” This in itself is deeply flawed as there is no precision in the term and no peer reviewed corroboration for the preeminence of culture over ideology, politics or economics. 
      • ‘civilisations’ as global actors; Huntington claims that conflicts between rich and poor countries are unlikely because the latter “lack the political unity, economic power, and military capability to challenge the rich countries.” Ironically, this contradicts his own thesis about the most serious challenges to the West emanating from Islam and China. China’s principal threat to Western interests is economic not cultural.
      • basis for conflict between and among civilizations -It has been America’s policy to ostracize countries in the Periphery as rogue states if they do one or more of three things: resist US hegemony, possess or are developing long-range missiles, and they possess or are developing weapons of mass destruction.
      • Nearly all the “rogue states” are quite small; the list includes Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Cuba and Libya. There is no cultural uniformity in this list of countries thought to pose a risk to US interests.
  • criticisms of clash of civilization thesis
  • Controversial thesis
  • widely criticised as a mono-causal thesis that lacks scholarly rigour, cultural awareness and historical accuracy. (Edward Said: The Myth of the Clash of Civilisations)
      • The “civilizational” wars actually originate in the usual sources: the anarchy of states, and conflicts over people, territory and resources; culture enters into these conflicts only later as the rival parties mobilize support among the larger population. Cultural factors are not therefore the primary cause of conflict.
      • Although Huntington claims that religion is “a central defining characteristic” of civilizations, the correlation between his civilizations and religion is quite weak. The West, Orthodox and Latin American civilizations are all Christian.
      • Huntington’s main thesis claims that conflicts between two states after 1989 are more likely if they belong to two different civilizations. This is not supported by the evidence.
      • A recent study by Jonathan Fox shows that a comparison of all ethnic conflicts during the Cold War, and the period since, shows a modest decline in the ratio of inter-civilization conflicts to intra-civilization conflicts.
      • There is as much intra-civilisational conflict as there is between cultures. McCormick argues: ‘It is clear that a clash within civilisations helps to explain the Arab Spring more than a clash between them’.
      • Similarly when it comes to US relations with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Indonesia Noam Chomsky observes that there is no clash of civilizations there. 
    • The post-Cold War period marked a new intensification in the reach of global capitalism. The bywords of this new regime are: free trade, liberal exchange markets, privatization, national treatment of foreign capital, and globalization of intellectual property rights. This has produced rapid immiseration of large parts of the Periphery, the erosion of indigenous capital in much of the Periphery, and widening disparities between the Core and Periphery.