No More Inside/Outside: Transnationalism and the New Political Economy
By Amandeep Sandhu
To understand things, we divide them into smaller pieces. We draw boundaries and then try to understand what we can make of the smaller units. Then we try to infer what these smaller units say about the larger unit. In the same way the books under consideration here draw boundaries so that we can make sense of what is happening to the world. In his now famous 1992 book Inside/Outside: International Relations as Political Theory, Robert Walker argues the same with regard to the notion of sovereignty in international relations. For Walker, the boundaries of sovereignty of modern nation states are markers of the division of what is inside and what is outside. Under the most widely accepted theoretical paradigm in international relations- Realism-what is inside the boundaries is supposed to be rational and what is outside is supposed to be irrational. It is, without doubt, a Hobbesian notion of what the world is like. In a somewhat similar fashion to Walker's division of inside/outside, the books under consideration try to establish some sort of order out of the contradictory and complex knowledge of the happenings out there; they are trying to make a proposition about the nature of social reality. If there is a theme that unifies these disparate readings, it is this: the old boundaries that were drawn to make sense of the world are not holding up well; therefore, we need to draw new boundaries. I will argue in this review that the books in consideration are arguing for a redrawing of boundaries so as to focus our attention on the interconnections among social processes that flow across nation state boundaries. All these books, then, draw attention to the transnational plane of inquiry-but in different ways.
Full Text (PDF, 15 pages, 66.0 KB)