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CIAO DATE: 08/01

Globalisation, Transnational Polities and the Dislocation of Politics 1

Anna Leander

April 2001

Copenhagen Peace Research Institute


Table of Contents

1. Globalisation: a social process and a field of research

1.1. Beyond the ostrich strategy

1.2. Globalisation defined as a social

1.3. Globalisation figuring as a field of research

2. The Emergence of World Society and Transnational Polities

2.1. Transnational, "glocal" societies

2.2. The expanding boundaries of politics and polities

2.3. Norms in transnational polities

3. The Dislocation of Politics

3.1. The continued centrality of the state and the paradox of demanding the impossible

3.2. The necessity and difficulties of moving democracy upwards: global domestic politics" (Weltinnenpolitik), cosmopolitan democracy and EU reform




The debates surrounding globalisation have come to occupy a central place not only in International Relations but in the social sciences overall. An impressive flow of literature covering everything from the functioning of the International Organisation of Securities and Exchange Commissions (IOSCO) to changing eating habits is the result. 2 "Globalisation" is invoked as an explanation for about everything which leads to the suspicion that it really can explain nothing. And it is probably because of the enormous variety in style, content and meaning of globalisation, that the debate surrounding it looks more like 'glo-blah-blah' than like a serious academic and political discussion. It is small wonder that many critics rage against what they see as no more than a fashion without substance, carried out by scholars trying to circumvent theoretical and/or historical reasoning (Hall 2000).

Part of this criticism is certainly justified. However, in this paper I will argue that this is not enough to refuse to deal with the substance of the debate. On the contrary, the importance of this substance is ultimately the reason for the incoming tide of globalisation literature. Indeed, the debate around globalisation touches upon crucial practical and theoretical questions. It evokes the tension the present "global transformations" create between the transnational and the interstate aspects of the world system; between universalist and state centric conceptions of politics and ethics and between legitimacy and power. 3 This tension has far reaching implications for both politics and theoretical conceptions (of IR and IPE). And it is precisely because the "globalisation debate" can be about exploring this tension that it is so central. It is also because the debate can be about this tension, that it is so disappointing when the discussion (as is often the case) fails to move beyond the level of stating (or refusing) the tension.

More specifically, this paper makes three points. First, it makes virtue out of vice by arguing in favour of a relatively lose definition of globalisation as a social processes creating transnational social space; or if one prefers as a process of deterritorialisation of social space. 4 This definition is actually more a definition of a field of research than of a process. As such it can do little to limit the enormous variety of contradictory approaches, issues, and arguments covered in the globalisation debate (something usually considered a vice). However, it makes the point that this is a price well worth paying: it keeps the debates theoretically and empirically open, and it makes it more difficult to use "globalisation" as a political justification or worse as an excuse to depoliticise issues.

Second, the paper proceeds by discussing the two central themes in the debate. The first of these is the emergence of a world society and the related emergence of transnational polities, and the second is the discussion about the extent to which this implies a dislocation of established political procedures, i.e. away from the state. It argues that the world society which is emerging is a highly unequal and diverse society, but that as a consequence of this development the boundaries of politics and polities have shifted in ways which makes the fit with state boundaries increasingly strenuous.

Third, this almost by definition implies a dislocation of political processes. This is not to say that the state is somehow going to disappear or that it is no longer important. On the contrary, this paper argues that it remains absolutely central. What is happening is that it is increasingly difficult for the state to fill the functions we expect it to fill. Yet at the same time, moving "democracy upwards" is extremely problematic. Therefore, we are left in a limbo where we constantly demand things of the state it could only realise at a supranational level, yet have imperfect and vague ideas about how some kind of "cosmopolitan" democracy could look and even vaguer ideas about how it could be achieved.


1. Globalisation: a social process and a field of research

The debate about globalisation is plagued by the absence of a clear definition of what is under discussion. Globalisation is woolly to say the least. Everyone uses it generously. In many cases the use is preceded by a tedious overview of definitional debates. Mostly it is not. The inevitable result is talk at cross purposes. It is therefore tempting to abandon the term altogether. However, the debate is constantly pulled back into the globalisation ambit. This is partly because critical thinking about globalisation has tended to take the form of an attack on (a strawman version of 5 ) globalisation. Critics have behaved very much as if they believed that globalisation would go away if they just denied it. To move beyond this "ostrich strategy" and to facilitate real debate on the very important substantive issues raised in the globalisation debate, it is indispensable to move on from the definitional discussion. The argument here is that using globalisation to refer to a process creating transnational social space makes this possible. However, this definition is so encompassing and non-deterministic that it is more akin to a field of debate than to anything else. I would argue that this kind of openness is the second best alternative to the probably impossible abandonment of the term globalisation altogether.


1.1. Beyond the ostrich strategy

Much ink and energy has gone into arguing that globalisation does not exist or is not new and certainly does not change anything significant about the world in which we live. 6 The world was as integrated in the 19th century (Hirst and Thompson 1996); states may be losing some of their power but this merely signals a return to normal (Mann 1997); and at any rate globalisation is much less advanced than usually claimed and national divergence is still very marked and possibly growing (Berger and Dore 1996, in particular Wade's contribution; Garrett 1998). However, this attempt to stick the head in the sand, refusing to discuss the changes going on and their implications, is unconvincing for three reasons.

First, without making a fully fledged argument on the subject, it is worth stressing that it seems counter-intuitive to claim that there is nothing new about the present processes. Indeed, part of the explanation of the ascent of the idea of "globalisation" is no doubt that so many people identify with it. Certainly the extensive transnational linkage created by the media, the internet, and increased mobility are new. But also more conventional forms of transnational linkages through economics, international organisations or through the reference points by which we define ourselves and our identities seem more extensive and intense than in earlier periods. This "common sense" observation is supported by the inter-disciplinary team which has done the most thorough empirical work to date on the subject. Indeed, it argues that "although there exist important continuities with previous phases of globalization, the contemporary patterns of globalization constitute a distinctive historical form which is itself a product of a unique conjuncture of social, political, economic and technological forces" (Held et al. 1999: 429).

Second, and more important than the empirical attempt to establish the uniqueness of the present form of globalisation, is the argument that most rejections of globalisation are methodologically unacceptable. They tend to "conceptualize globalization as prefiguring a singular condition or end-state, that is, a fully integrated global market with price and interest equalization" (Held et al. 1999: 11). This form of argument is faulty, in part for its unacceptable economism. But even without reducing the discussion only to economic aspects of globalisation the argument is faulty on at least three accounts: (i) there is no more reason to believe that international markets should be perfectly competitive than there is to believe national ones should; (ii) this form of argument makes a teleological assumption of linear progress which is totally untenable; (iii) and it tends to use statistics to (dis)prove globalisation in an unacceptably empiricist manner without real concern for the relevance of the statistics used (Held et al. 1999: 11 ff). 7

Finally, perhaps the most important point is the seemingly obvious one that it may not matter whether "globalisation" is new or not. The reason we care about it is that it is perceived to pose challenges to the way that we conceive e.g. economics, politics, identities, or culture. It is not terribly important that the welfare state that is being challenged is a post-war creation, that national democracy has only been the dominant form of rule for the last twenty years or that by historical standards the extensive definition we have of politics to include e.g. the environment is abnormal. It will not calm those who worry about the changes to know that what is going on is nothing new and merely signals a return to normal. On the contrary, Habermas uses Polanyi (1957) 8 to argue that, if anything, awareness of historical precedent ought to make us aware of the importance of the challenges posed by globalisation (1998: 125ff).

In clear, even if the changes lumped together under the heading globalisation are overstated, not entirely novel, and perhaps misnamed, it is important to discuss them. The relevant question seems to be less their existence than to what extent they matter. However, to get on with discussing the substance it is necessary to place the debate on a common terrain. An ostrich strategy will not do the job.


1.2. Globalisation defined as a social process

I would argue in favour of what seems to be an increasingly widely accepted definition of globalisation roughly as a process creating transnational social space, or "deterritorialising social processes."

Adopting this definition means that first, and most obviously, globalisation is distinguished as a process. It is neither a project nor an ideology of "globalism" (Beck 2000: 10). This is not to deny that such projects exist and have a major impact on the direction and speed of globalisation processes (McMichael 2000). However, it is useful to keep the project separate from the process. The reason for this is not only naming. It is also because it seems important to resist a definition of globalisation focusing exclusively on the ideology and political projects and hence have social processes drop out of the picture, including those which have led to the domination of "globalisation" projects. It is important to open the door for studying the entire range of social processes lumped under the heading "globalisation", and not to hide the processes of social transformation from view by focussing on a single aspect. For the same reason they are careful to stress the importance of separating globalisation from its result, that is "globality", world society or a globalized world.

Second, globalisation is not any process; it is a process creating transnational social space. An important precondition for this has been the compression of time and space. Communication increasingly takes place in real time across continents and the time required for physically moving persons or objects across the globe have been dramatically reduced. Globalisation has "deterritorialised" social relations. This may mean different things. For some it has to involve networks of actual interaction which spans a wide geographic area. Thus, Held et al. make it an explicit condition that the process be transcontinental or interregional in order to be dubbed globalisation. 9 For others, actual territorial coverage and interaction between agents are less relevant. For Beck e.g., globalisation is a "process of denationalisation"; of "redefining politics" and "of undermining states" (2000: 14, 1, 11 respectively) But this is done just as much by way of reflexive redefinition of identities and relationships as it is by way of actual transnational flows. 10 This makes the question of how geographically extensive the relations are secondary. What matters —and makes globalisation—is the self-definition and self-reference of social actors in relation to a "global" rather than local community (Beck 2000: 10). In fact, this divergence on the nature of "social space" and the processes creating it, is the logical consequence of the variety of scholars attracted to the research programme surrounding the globalisation.

Third, globalisation is a complex process following multiple logics in different social spheres. Indeed, the study by Held et al. (1999) is structured as a study of globalisation (global transformations) in different social spheres in a limited number of countries. Its dual aim is both to show that there is globalisation in the spheres it covers 11 and to show that globalisation is different in each sphere. It has different causes, takes different shapes and is unequally deep. In order to keep their account coherent and to be able to make comparisons across these fields (and in time) the authors are forced to provide relatively clear indicators of what they are talking about. They therefore give a reasonably clear definition of the "spatio-temporal" and the "organizational" dimensions they use for looking at globalisation in their different social spheres (chapter 1 12 ). For Beck "autonomous logics of globalisation—the logics of economy, culture, economics, politics and civil society— exist side by side and cannot be reduced or collapsed into one another" (Beck 2000: 11). The question is then what precisely this "complex" entails, to what extent the different "logics" are linked and how significant they are in different areas.

Finally, globalisation is complex in that it influences countries and groups in society in very different ways. There is no reason to believe that globalisation works as an equalising, universalising force across countries. On the contrary, Bauman (1998) discusses the "globalisation of wealth and the localisation of poverty". Habermas draws on the debate about "capitalism without work" when he underlines the skewed effects of globalisation and the necessity of a "Weltinnenpolitk" [global domestic policy] to catch up with markets [1998: chap. 4 passim]. Similarly, rather than making cultures more similar, globalisation may—in certain respects—increase their distinctiveness (Robertson 1995; Habermas 1998: 112-119). Finally, "globalisation is mediated, managed, contested and resisted by governments, agencies and peoples. States and societies may display varying degrees of sensitivity or vulnerability to global processes such that patterns of domestic structural adjustment will vary in terms of their degree and duration" (Held et al. 1999: 19). But clearly recognising that globalisation has complex and unequal effects merely begs questions about what causes the varying degrees of vulnerability and about how systematic and inescapable the skewed impact of globalisation is, be it for pockets of new poverty in the North or for entire countries in the South.

In clear the definition of globalisation as a set of social process creating transnational social space has left us with more questions than answers. We are dealing with a process. But we don't know what drives it. We know that it creates denationalised social space. But we don't know what that means precisely. We know that the process is complex, that it follows different logics with varying effects. But we don't know what these logics are or how they are linked nor what the reason is for the difference in effect or how inevitable these effects are. What emerges is a field of research rather than a graspable definition.


1.3. Globalisation figuring as a field of research

Arguably a definition which is a field of research looks like a hopeless starting point. Yet this definition is becoming the most widely accepted one. And I would argue that paradoxically this is the case precisely because it is so open and refers to a field of research and debate more than to anything else. 13 There are of course also practical and technical reasons for adhering to it: it is the only definition of globalisation not redundant with other phenomena (liberalisation, modernisation, internationalisation, universalisation) (Scholte 2000: 45-50). However, fundamentally the reasons are deeper and are more related to a modest wish to keep the debate methodologically and empirically open.

First, an open definition of globalisation is a way of keeping the various strands of empirical research on the topic under one roof. 14 There is a widespread sense that there are profound social changes going on. Globalisation captures aspects of the contemporary Zeitgeist (Held et al. 1999: 1). Yet there is an equally widespread sense that there is a regrettable lack of systematic debate and studies of the processes which seem to be (re)shaping our society. Reality seems to run ahead of and escape academia. Using an open definition of globalisation is a way of admitting this uncertainty without for that sake denying that the world may be changing. An open ended definition also allows the enquiry to cover the different aspects of globalisation; to allow for interdisciplinarity. It is a way of avoiding that the globalisation process is reduced to one area (e.g. economy or culture). Lastly, it is a way not to prejudice debates about the consequences of globalisation.

In addition to this, the definition of globalisation as a field of research is a way of keeping debates about method open. Some authors in the globalisation debate advocate the creation of a new global social theory (e.g. Hettne and Söderbaum 1999) and some critics (e.g. Rosenberg 2000) rage at their attempt to create a new grand social theory from scratch. However, many (most?) authors advocate a combination of interdisciplinarity and critical reflexiveness in their own field. The Held team is itself an interdisciplinary group, but also Beck and Habermas take the position that the complexity and multiplicity of globalisation makes openness to methodological positions and insights from different disciplines a necessity. 15

Of course, studying globalisation may require some revision of established theories. It is difficult to capture transnational social phenomena if we cling to methodological nationalism or a "container theory" of society, i.e. theories which assume that societies are contained in states (Beck 2000: 25). It is equally difficult to think about the changing nature of politics and governance on the basis of a "realist" (i.e. state centred) conception of international politics, marked by a "pessimistic conception of humanity and a peculiarly opaque concept of 'the' political" (Habermas 1999: 267).

However, this justified debate over what aspects of our theories are a hindrance to thinking by no means implies that we have to throw them over board and create social theory anew. The "container theory" of society is not inherent in social theory. It is there for practical and historical reasons. Statistics and information tends to be gathered by national states. And states have played a fundamental role in shaping our societies. But precisely because the container theory is not inherent in social theory, there is no reason to believe that abandoning the inside—outside separation would shake the foundations of our understanding of society (also Crouch and Streeck 1997). It would call for a revision of specific aspects of our theories. This is particularly true for that part of international relations which continues to define itself precisely with reference to this separation (1993; 1990; Walker 1991).

This field of research definition of globalisation remains (modestly) open about what globalisation is and how it can best be understood. It provides scholars and laymen with a useful common terrain for exploring and disagreeing about globalisation and its effects. Ultimately this is the second best option to abandoning the term altogether. Recognizing that globalisation is a reference to an indeterminate and complex set of processes has the advantage of relegating any discussion and any claim about adequate policy measures to a more concrete level. If globalisation is a field of research it can no longer be referred to as forcing policymakers to take specific measures. Nor can it be advanced without specification as the causal force toppling the welfare state, state sovereignty or the Hindu caste system. In sum, paradoxically, the reason for advocating and adhering to the loose conceptualisation of globalisation present in these books is that it seems to be the best way of making the debate more substantial and specific.


2. The Emergence of World Society and Transnational Polities

The first basic issue that this definition of globalisation allows us to tackle are the basic questions whether there is (and can be) something like world society in any meaningful sense; if the development of a world society also implies a change in the boundaries of the polity and in the articulation of politics; and, if it is possible to imagine a normative arrangement which could provide a basis for solidarity and legitimacy in this polity. 16 On these questions, this paper will argue, first, that it is possible to talk about a world society without necessarily implying that such a society is homogenous, all encompassing or equal. In fact, a highly unequal and differentiated world society is emerging at present. Second, contrary to those who seem to think that the creation of world society has no implication for politics, the paper will make the point that the growing importance of transnational social space is leading to a transformation of the boundaries around political issues and polities. And, finally, this section rejects the arguments of those who believe that the creation of transnational polities and policies will necessarily lead to a clash of incommensurable value systems.


2.1. Transnational, "glocal" societies

The idea of a world society is often associated with a romantic, idealist view of a world of harmony and mutual respect; the "realist" IR scholars' caricature of the "idealist". It is then swept aside with the exceedingly banal statement that this is not what the world looks like nor is it ever likely to look like that. However, there is absolutely no need to accept this association as inevitable. On the contrary, one can very well argue that a world society is in the making and that conflicting cultures and social hierarchies continue to exist.

The most obvious way in which one can argue that a world society is emerging is through the creation of communities of interests ( Vergesellschaftung ). The establishment of interest groups across boarders in all spheres of economic life are well documented by the Held team (1999). Business elites are operating in increasingly global markets where they trade goods and services (chap. 3), exchange financial services (chap. 4) and run multinational companies (chap. 5). The result is that extensive transnational communities of interests have evolved. Thus, in a very informative and interesting book Kurzer points to the importance of these communities of interests for the determination not only of business behaviour and interests but also for the restructuring of national communities of interests (1993: 276-280). It is not only business behaviour that changes — but also via this change — union politics and the fate of corporatist collective bargaining and ultimately of national economic strategies that is at stake. 17 Beck adds a further twist to this creation of transnational interest communities by underlining the importance of transnational interest communities that emerge to control the risks (ecological, but also economic and social) which he believes are at the centre of our societies where people care more about the distribution of risk than of wealth (2000: 98-101). The important point is that interest communities are increasingly defined in relation to a transnationally defined social space.

But world society goes deeper. It also involves the creation of communities of identity and culture ( Vergemeinschaftung). Beck drives home this point forcefully by stressing the importance of the self definition of agents. He argues that what matters is that an increasing number of people think that they live in a world society and define themselves in relation to transnationally defined groups. The groups with which they identify are no longer primarily "national". They are Mexican-American, Muslims, or Greens. Their everyday habits, the music they listen to and the food they eat is not national. These transnational communities may not correspond to anything "real". For example, the many people who identify themselves as part of an African community may never have seen Africa, may know very little about any one place on the continent and may have only the vaguest reference to any part of African culture. The reference to Africa which links them "is not a continent but a concept" (2000: 27). The media is of course absolutely essential in creating and staging these identities as stressed by the Held team (1999), as well as by Beck (2000: 10).

However, the claim that a transnational society is emerging does not imply that this society is homogenous or that it would eliminate conflicts. On the contrary. One reason is that the spread of world society is uneven. Even if an increasing number of people define their interests or their identity in relation to a transnational social space, not everyone does. But more importantly, the assumption that the creation of a global cultural industry and world society would lead to a homogenization of cultures relies on the simplistic idea that societies are necessarily unitary. This is clearly not the case. Most societies— including the emerging world society—are highly diverse and hierarchical. Even where there is a common reference point (interest or identity), common images and ideas are understood, used and interpreted in extremely diverse ways depending on the context. 18 Concretely, one can follow Habermas in arguing that if anything globalisation is likely to result in an increase rather than a decrease of cultural diversity. The reason is first that the meeting of cultures often produces "cognitive dissonance" and a "hardening" of identities (1998: 113). 19 The second reason is that the spread of materialism and individualism seems to be a basic feature of cultural globalisation. Habermas points out that this spread cannot be equated with a homogenization of culture. Rather, we see a process of "hybrid differentiation" whereby different materialisms is integrated, but also adapted in different ways. Thus, according Albrow (1995) "we may conceive world society as multiplicity without unity".

In sum, a world society is emerging. Both Vergessellschaftung and Vergemeinschaftung are taking place. Common interests, enemies and identities have created a strong awareness at least among some groups that the "the world is a single place". But that place is neither conflict free, nor homogenous, nor equal. Rather it tends to accentuate divergences among different cultures and value systems.


2.2. The expanding boundaries of politics and polities

If there is an emerging world society it is important to move on to ask to what extent this also implies a change in politics. Indeed, particularly in International Relations, a great number of scholars would agree that a world society is emerging, but hasten to deny that this has any bearing on (international) politics. This section will argue that the formation of a world society is also bringing about a transformation of politics. The common social space is placing an increasing number of political issues in a transnational social realm and, to an increasing extent, polities are being formed around these issues. The result is changing boundaries of polities and of the political

The creation of a transnational social space is exploding boundaries of politics and of polities. As interests and identities are increasingly defined in a social space and in relation to groups, who are no longer national, political issues (and conflicts, including wars) also become defined in "post-national" terms. And precisely because these issues by definition are inadequately dealt with in the existing political processes, issue-centred polities which spill across boundaries emerge.

In part, this process is a matter of people enlarging the political space by which they are concerned. As tourists, migrants, or neighbours of migrants people feel concerned by what goes on in a much wider polity than that of their own state (Beck 2000: 72-77). Even if there is no immediate personal reason to feel concern, the media brings the politics of a much larger polity into peoples' daily lives. Shaw (1996), argues that "wars lose their spatial location, and, through their telegenic (re-)presentation, become political crises in which questions of justice and intervention must also be publicly discussed and decided in the far-off centres of global civil society". Moreover, "previously de-politicized areas of decision-making now find themselves politicized" (Beck 2000: 99). Ecology, science, and the gender relations have become political and very often they do spill over borders. Finally, as forcefully argued by Habermas, since the defeat of fascism after the second world war there is an attachment to human rights and democracy and a belief that these are principles which demand universal respect. This concern is to some extent always universal in nature and hence inherently tends to expand the boundaries of the polity. 20

But it is not only changing self-definitions and universal values that drive the expansion of politics. It is often imposed. As the links between societies are intensified it becomes clear that there is a discrepancy between the polity concerned by a (political) decision or a development and the location of the authority making that decision or setting the development in motion 21 The decision about what to do with Bulgaria's nuclear plants regards not only the Bulgarian population. A change in US interests rates influences financial markets across the world. A change in the car industry affects everyone linked to it directly or indirectly. And the development of a vocal issue centred movement (e.g. women's rights, or ATTAC) influences not only those who created it but everyone concerned as the movements alter the image of the issue, the politics surrounding it and the regulation of it. 22 The obvious result is that often there is no opting out. A country cannot simply declare that it does not want to be affected by a nuclear disaster, developments in international financial markets or reconceptualizations of civil rights. Thus Thus

what is a free choice for some descends as cruel fate upon others. And since those 'others' tend to grow unstoppably in numbers and sink ever deeper into despair born of a prospect less existence, one will be well advised to speak of 'glocalization'[...] and to define it mostly as the process of the concentration of capital, finance and all other resources of choice and effective action, but also—perhaps above all—of the concentration of freedom to move and to act (Bauman, quoted in Beck 2000: 55).

The changing boundaries of politics and of polities begs the question of what happens to the political process. Indeed, a democratic political process which grants citizens self-determination would be the obvious way of giving those on whom the political agenda is imposed a voice. However, there is no established political procedure for dealing with the "post-national constellation". The procedures established by nation states are neither sufficient nor the ones actually used.

There are large "efficiency and legitimacy holes" (Habermas 1998: 109) created by the lack of state control over large chunks of the developments of and decisions which are of immediate concern for their citizens. The attempts to move control upwards — to international organisations — only covers portions of the issues at stake and often not very democratically. Rather than solve, they accentuate the problem of procedures. This is well illustrated by the debates surrounding the democratic deficit of international institutions (WTO, IMF, World Bank etc), including the one institution which actually has a parliament: the EU 23

This is compounded by the growing share of politics taking place outside state involvement. Political issues are placed on the agenda decided upon and implemented outside the influence of states. In the 1995 conflict over the Brent Spar oil platform e.g. Greenpeace (a non-governmental organisation) was acting through massive consumer boycotts and courtrooms against Shell (a multinational corporation) 24 Beck goes as far as arguing that there is a "politicization through depoliticization of states" (2000: 10). In fact, one of the key problems may well be that an important part of politics is no longer dealt with in any political process at all. Some political power and the capacity to fill political functions simply evaporates. (Strange 1996). Indeed, Beck insists that there may no longer be a place where demands for justice and equality can be raised and fought (2000: 97). Unfortunately this "ungovernance" aspect of current politics is something that none of the books explores in detail, although it is an underlying theme in all of them.

There is considerable uncertainty about how best to conceive the changes in the political process and what aspects to emphasise. It has become increasingly common to talk about "multilevel governance". This expression downplays the diffusion of authority to non-state actors and the privatization of governance and puts the main weight on the displacement of governance functions and capacities from the central state institution to other (state sponsored) levels: upwards to international organisations and downwards to regions. However, multilevel governance "gives a much too orderly image" of the changes that are taking place (Habermas 1998: 165). In fact it seems that "politics is decreasingly rule governed" (Beck 2000: 65). The number and nature of political actors is increasingly complex. Thus

where the dominant political image of modernity was Leviathan, the moral standing of 'national' powers and superpowers will, for the future, be captured in the picture of Lemuel Gulliver, waking from an unthinking sleep to find himself tethered by innumerable tiny bonds (Beck 2000: 72).

Ultimately, the reason for the difficulties in capturing and describing the changing nature of the political processes is that this process is itself a major stake in transnational politics. Beck makes this point when he argues that we are witnessing a "politics of meta politics". By this he means that the procedures and conditions on which politics should take place are themselves a fundamental part of the transnational political process. Any statement about the nature of the process therefore faces the double dilemma of having to pin down something which is highly uncertain and of being a political statement about its nature.

This makes vagueness about the precise nature of the emerging political processes comprehensible. However, it also makes it seem more urgent to explore the nature of the change in far greater detail. Moreover, it appears crucial to move forward in the discussion of how these changes influence the state. But before tackling this question, a last issue in relation to the emergence of world society needs to be raised: the issue of what happens when diverging value systems and norms meet in the World Society.


2.3. Norms in transnational polities

Arguing that a diverse world society ripe with conflicts is emerging begs the classical IR question of how the meeting of conflicting and contradictory ideas about how politics and society should be organised. Different cultures and political systems are grounded in cultural values so "incommensurable" they forbid the communication and compromise which must be at the base of any political process. The Westphalian solution of strictly separating the internal from the international spheres no longer seems available. 25 Therefore "there is no shortage of commentators who foresee that the contemporary international system must, and must always, be understood in terms of endemic conflict and inequality albeit mitigated by fragile and limited attempts at global governance" (Held et al. 1999: 451). However, there are good reasons to hold a more optimistic view of the potential for handling the obviously existing intense normative conflicts and, hence, for the prospects of arriving at a rule governed political process.

First, one can take an essentially pragmatic approach. Instead of getting into the theoretical discussion about whether or not value systems are incommensurable and how to handle this incommensurability in the international system, one can point to what is. There is a "transnational civil society" where social movements pursue political issues in processes taking place across the divide of cultural difference and communication (Held et al. 1999: 52-58). The feminist movement is an excellent illustration. In spite of innumerable differences and disagreements, partly caused by cultural differences, feminists do communicate, they do operate across borders and they do identify with each other (Leander 1997). Similarly, international law is showing a clear tendency to move from being precisely international (covering states) to become cosmopolitan (covering individuals). Finally, there are already many regional and global institutions and mechanisms of governance (Archibugi, Held, and Köhler 1998). Obviously, the communication problem must be manageable.

Second, it is possible to look for a solution in increased tolerance. But that of course begs the question how one arrives at increased tolerance. One suggestion is that of Ulrich Beck who on the basis of a reading of Nietzsche and Lessing's Nathan the Wise (or, more accurately expressed, a polemic with the 'postmodernists'), argues that the only tenable position is one of "contextual universalism" (2000: 77-76). By this he means a position which considers the own universalism form a contextual perspective; that is in full awareness and respect of the fact that there are other universalisms. However, it is not a "universalist contextualism" (which Beck tells us is a form of relativism) in that this position does believe that the non-interference advocated by universalist contextualism is impossible (2000: 83). Instead communication is imposed all the time and through the creative power of misunderstanding (83) to advance dialogue. The key challenges are how to manage this dialogue and how to avoid the pitfall of universalist universalism, i.e. of imposing the own view on others. This can only be done by acquiring distance to the own position. So for Beck the key question for contextual universalism is "How can I learn to laugh at the objects of my own sanctuary, while passing through the sanctuaries of others?" (2000: 84, original italics). The question is how learning to laugh will do anything to resolve the conflicts that exist between the different universalisms or ensure a tolerant behaviour. Learning to debate and possibly instituting rules for the debate would seem more promising.

The line taken by Jürgen Habermas is precisely one insisting on the importance of basic rules for insuring tolerance and creating the preconditions for managing conflicting norms. For Habermas, any legal process needs to be embedded in a context which confers legitimacy to it in order to be effective. But in the international context (even more than in the national context) the traditional forms of legitimacy provided through religion or the common reference to a people will not do. There is no common religion and there is no single people which could provide this. Instead legitimacy can be provided by human rights. Indeed, human rights are necessary for individual autonomy, which is a precondition for any political will formation. And this argument is valid everywhere and for everyone.

Habermas advances a series of arguments to sustain the claim that human rights are universal, and not only an expression of western power politics. 26 He argues that it is important to recognize the investigatory (detektivischen) character of human rights. That is their tendency to discover those de facto excluded (minorities, colonized people, women, children, homosexuals etc.) and to include them as well as their empowering effect. Second it is important to recognise that human rights do not antagonise other value structures. Habermas picks up the arguments raised in relation to the "Asian" value structure in particular. He picks up the claims that have been raised particularly in the "Asian" context to the effect that a different kind of "communitarian" based rights has made the rapid economic development in the region possible, reflects a different (better? certainly to be respected) view on the individual as embedded in a community and enjoying community based rights and as explaining the greater security (physical, political, economic and social) of a community based society. Habermas counters that it is important to see that human rights (and individual rights more broadly) are a precondition (i) for benefiting from socio-economic development, as well as (ii) for using other communitarian rights, and (iii) that they are not a help but a hindrance to security. Finally, he points out that indeed human rights are contradictory to fundamentalist conceptions of politics since the "secularisation of politics is the reverse side of the establishment of the autonomy of the citizen" which is the basis for democracy (1998: 180- 89).

Consequently, there is no need to see the clash of incompatible — perhaps incommensurable — value systems as condemning the world to perpetual conflict across cultural divides. Recognising conflict, one can still argue that there are ways to handle it. Theoretically, relying on universal human rights as a central part of a process of constant (democratic) redefinition of community is one way to go. Pragmatically, it is possible to point to the actual practice of communication. Of course, this is of little comfort for all those who worry that politics in a world society and the related expanded borders of the political, may be largely dominated by intolerant actors, who have no interest in the supposed universal human rights and who may interact with other international actors but certainly not in any way that furthers democracy or justice (viz. the Taliban government or Berezovski, the Russian tycoon). But it would be much to demand a solution to the perennial problem of liberalism of what to do with the illiberal. Practically, protection against illiberal behaviour can only be given by an institutionalised political process. And such processes have so far been provided (if at all) by the state. Clearly, the future of the state as a grantor of political processes becomes a crucial issue.


3. The Dislocation of Politics

Conflicting norms and values are not the only obstacle to establishing a transnational political process. Many would point out that states are self interested (absolute or relative) gain seekers and that this will effectively impede the creation of effective political processes for global governance. Others will argue that the creation of transnational polities and transnational social space has deprived states of their capacity to control and regulate. And since there is no other authority to replace these defective states, the creation of the political process is hampered by the lack of competent authorities. And perhaps even more important than to worry about the prospects of an unlikely transnational process, is to worry about what becomes of the national political processes centred around the state as we know it. And this opens a third grand debate surrounding the globalisation literature: what is the future of the state as a grantor of political processes and of politics as we have so far known them? (Lawton, Rosenau, and Verdun 2000; Strange 1995). Of course one can define this issue altogether away, as many IR scholars do — even e.g. Alexander Wendt — by simply saying that "international politics" is what states do to each other at the international level and this is what IR studies. The rest is for some other branch of social science to deal with 27 I rather opt for tackling the issue.

I argue in favour of a cautious approach to discussing the effect of globalisation on the state. There is a need to get away from the unattractive debate between those pronouncing sweeping death-sentences over the state and those who seem to believe that nothing has changed since the peace of Westphalia (or at least since the second world war). To varying degrees states are being transformed through globalisation. The question is of course how much and how meaningful this is. Without offering a definite answer to this, the paper argues that the state continues to be the absolutely essential for the political process and that certain of its functions are challenged. The result is that politics continues to take place in a paradoxical awareness of the fact that many of the demands and expectations placed on the state could only be satisfied at a supranational level. And this is a good thing, precisely because no one really knows exactly where the limits to the regulatory capacity of any specific state go. However, this should not be taken as an excuse for closing down the debate on the importance of moving the boundaries of the democracy upwards in order to achieve a better correspondence between the polity and the regulating authority.


3.1. The continued centrality of the state and the paradox of demanding the impossible

It is necessary to have a differentiated understanding of the extent to which globalisation is challenging the state. Just as the understanding of globalisation has to be differentiated by social sphere, its effects on the state vary greatly. "States and societies display varying degrees of sensitivity or vulnerability to global processes such that patterns of domestic structural adjustment will vary in terms of their degree and duration" (Held et al. 1999: 19). One can make the same point the other way around. Departing from the basic functions a state has to fill, it is possible to think about the effects of globalisation on each of these. And obviously there is no reason to believe that it will be the same independently of which function and which state is under consideration (Habermas 1998: 91-104). It makes no sense to try to make a priori generalisations about the effects of globalisation on the state. However, it also makes no sense to deny a priori priori that globalisation has effects on the states. This said, politics is very often in the paradoxical situation of placing demands and expectations on the state which are close nay impossible to satisfy. This argument will be illustrated with two examples: the transformation of the nation state and of the welfare state.

First, there are major changes in the sense of cultural belonging to a nation state. This sense of cultural belonging has been crucial for the development of democracy because it has created the solidarity among citizens that is necessary for a cultural polity to function. Of course, cultural homogeneity has always been a myth and has lead to (often horrendous) oppression of minorities. But to some extent, democracy itself has a partial capacity to respond by expanding and keeping open the definition of cultural belonging and allow for minorities to be integrated (Habermas 1998: 114). However, the capacity is only partial and this partiality stands out more clearly than ever as changing life styles and migration create multicultural societies. These societies require an explicit policy of recognition of diversity which makes any reliance on cultural homogeneity illusory. 28 Consequently, a new basis for solidarity is called for. Habermas advances the idea that the uniting reference, creating the necessary bonds of solidarity among citizens could be the constitution. Nationalism could be replaced with the idea of "constitutional patriotism" (Verfassungspatriotismus 1998: 114). At the same time, he is aware of the point raised by his many critics that such a transition is by no means easily achieved. 29 It demands that a (in most cases majority) of citizens agree to separate their own cultural from the general political culture of the nation. He is demanding something close to the impossible as a solution for the problem.

A second illustration of politics demanding and expecting the impossible from the state is the capacity of the state to guarantee social and economic rights and integration. Indeed, globalisation is undermining the capacity of states to regulate the economy in general as well as its capacity to provide welfare services in particular. 30 More broadly, one can follow Habermas in arguing that the capacity of self regulation in general is being undermined. "Money is substituting power". The regulatory capacity of collectively binding decisions functions according to a logic different from that of the regulative mechanism of the market: Only power can be democratised, not money. The possibilities of democratic self regulation therefore disappear to the extent that social regulation moves from one medium to another (Habermas 1998: 119-20). Yet, at the same time the state has a crucial role in devising and implementing a political strategy to catch up with and tame globalized markets. This is the "dilemma of social policy" (Beck 2000: 154).

The dilemma of social policy is all the more acute as the effects of globalized markets can be highly exploitative. Following Polanyi, one can insist on the importance of a strategy to "catch up" with markets and on the dangers of failed, backward looking or protectionist reactions. Thus, Habermas argues that the creation of new networks of goods, money, persons and information pressures for openings and developments of the "life world" (Lebenswelt). However, it is very important that the ensuing reorganisation of the life world is consolidated in a self awareness, self determination and self realisation consistent with the normative self-understanding of modernity. And the state is the one agency capable of ensuring that this "closing takes place without the kind of world historical seismic changes and catastrophes" Polanyi describes. However, pushing the state to provide the arena where demands for justice and equality and justice can be raised and a political strategy for catching up with markets, "confronts the nation state actors with the paradoxical expectation, that they pursue—at present and within the limits on action—a program they can only realise beyond these limits" (Habermas 1998: 125, original italics).

It is important to join the steadily growing crowd of thinkers who think about transformations of the state. Not about its death or unchanging permanence. 31 The picture is one of a state undergoing profound, unequal, transformations, but which continues to be crucial for political processes. However, it is difficult (impossible?) not to remain allusive and vague on what limits these transformations actually impose on states. There is probably more leeway for action than usually admitted by those who see globalisation as changing politics. And, hence, the vagueness has the advantage of not prematurely closing down possibilities for state action. This said it is of course important to specify further where precisely the limits go and at which point the demands placed on the state really cannot be satisfied. Being more specific on this is the sine qua non non for thinking about how necessary and desirable it is to try to move governance to the international or transnational level. However, for the time being I will proceed on the assumption that such a move is likely to be necessary at least in some spheres of governance, and tackle the issue of the necessity and prospects of moving democracy upwards.


3.2. The necessity and difficulties of moving democracy upwards: "global domestic politics" (Weltinnenpolitik), cosmopolitan democracy and EU reform

"The assumption that one can understand the nature and possibilities of political community by referring merely to national structures and mechanisms of political power is clearly anachronistic" (Held et al. 1999: 445). There is a need to think of many political issues as global domestic politics (Weltinnenpolitik), Habermas 1998: 157). 32 If the state is no longer sufficient, albeit to varying degrees, this is the obvious conclusion to draw. However, the question is of course how transnational political regulation could and will develop. In what follows the paper will discuss three competing views on this. It takes issue with Held's ambitious scheme for creating a "cosmopolitan democratic system", for there are at least to very good reasons to be sceptical about the prospects and desirability. Unfortunately, it is far from clear what alternatives there are. Democratizing the EU might be one important intermediary step towards the creation of a more democratic international system. But also this is wrought with difficulties.

According to the Held team, the project of cosmopolitan democracy should be thought of as a "double sided process" deepening democracy within a national community but also the extension of democratic forms and processes across territorial borders (Held et al. 1999: 450ff.). The idea is to disconnect legitimate political authority from its traditional anchor in fixed borders and delimited territories and instead anchor it in basic democratic law or arrangements. This would make it possible for various actors and self-regulating associations to refer to it in contexts above, below and alongside the state. It would make them citizens of a cosmopolitan democratic order. 33 And as far as the Held team is concerned, a more cosmopolitan democracy is already in the making. However, they are "in favour of a radical extension of this process as long as it is circumscribed and delimited by a commitment to a far-reaching cluster of democratic rights and duties" and find it absolutely necessary "to refire our political imagination" to come up with new alternatives (Held et al. 1999: 450).

Even if one shares the Held team's conviction that democratic reform is much needed, there is good reason to be critical of Held's cosmopolitan project. First, there is all reason to be sceptical about the prospects of a Heldian cosmopolitan democracy. Following Beck, one can argue that "as to its sociological realism, this appears all fine and rosy—but no more than that" (Beck 2000: 95) and that "if we are to have more than hope to rely on to defend this project, we better understand its contradictions and adversaries". 34 Second, and more importantly, as pointed out by Habermas the problem is that beyond very general norms regarding security, human rights and the environment, there is no consensus on the democratic norms according to which a world polity could be governed (161-2). And

even a world wide consensus about human rights is no equivalent to the solidarity among citizens developed in the national frame. Solidarity among citizens has its roots in such specific collective identities. However, solidarity among world citizens must rely exclusively on the moral universalisms expressed in human rights (162-3)
This moral universalism is not a sufficient grounding for a widening of world citizen solidarity. It may be enough to provoke common reactions against things (rights violations), but not for providing the basis for positive regulations or a cosmopolitan "constitutional patriotism" (163). Politics at the transnational level will therefore have to look for less ambitious forms of legitimation and institutionalization.

So what are the alternatives? The alternative Beck suggests is the "realist utopia" of the Third way, namely a "transnational state" (yes, following Giddens (1998), 108). The transnational state is one where the national reference of the state disappears (an idea borrowed from Habermas) but the idea of the state as the central reference for the political processes is reinforced. It is a state where multiple levels political processes and actors are accepted to be legitimately part of the formulation of a transnational internal policy. It is, finally, a state where "globality becomes the irrevocable foundation of political thought and action" (Beck 2000: 110). Habermas in turn suggests that the foundations for solidarity and legitimacy must be found in the already widely existing NGOs and that increased international democratization could pass through an institutionalization of the NGO participation in the decision making at the international level (167). He also argues that the transformation of the self-understanding of global actors in a way that would make them more respectful of each others interests and more willing to take the overall interest of the world polity into consideration (that is provide the basis for a global solidarity) is most likely to develop, if at all, through NGOs. But NGOs are no panacea. They are not democratically accountable and therefore can serve as no more than circuits of communication. Not a basis for democratic citizenship at a transnational level.

In clear, how to think about this transnational state concretely in terms of actual existence as well as in terms of prospective developments is vague to say the least. Both Beck and Habermas bring up the EU as an intermediary alternative to a fully fledged transnational democratic development. However, again the arguments are hesitant. Habermas' arguments that democracy at the supranational level is problematic could well be (and are) applied also on the European level. Habermas himself claims that they do not apply to the same extent there. 35 A common history of conflict but also of successful social integration could facilitate the transition to the demanding conditions of post-national democracy easier for "us — sons, daughters and grandchildren of a barbarian nationalism" (2000: 156). But this is still a very uncertain statement. Similarly, the European level is only brought up towards the end of Beck's book. And although Beck argues that "without Europe there can be no response to globalization" (2000: 158) he fails to delve into the conditions under which "the new social contract" needed to avoid the "Brazilianization of Europe" could be struck and is sceptical about its actual prospects. So it seems fair to accept Beck's own disclaimer: "of course what is put forward here should not be taken as more than a beginning that raises more questions than it answers" (2000: 110).

Thus, even if one takes a view that democracy needs to become post-national in some way it is hard to settle exactly how. More fundamentally however, central questions are still in need of an answer. First, although states are no doubt undergoing transformations we need to become far more specific about precisely what these transformations imply for policy making. The economic and social functions of the state are challenged by globalisation and that the relevance of national boundaries for the purpose of self definition is decreasing. But exactly what is the implication for state capacity and consequently for conceiving policies? The question is crucial. If it does not change much there is no obvious reason to push for a transnationalization of democracy. Particularly since any transnationalization of democracy is likely to come at a price: it will to some extent curtail the democracy at the state level. Is this really a price worth paying?

Second, it is important to do more to elaborate diverse perspectives and understanding of the effects of globalisation. A key problem with much of the literature on the subject is that it is written from a very OECD state centred perspective (Leander 2001). This centres the debate on some themes while closing it to others. In particular, it tends to give the discussion a strange mixture of "nostalgia" for a national democratic welfare and a "futurism" depicting the birth of a world democracy (Malkki 1998: 441). But for large chunks of the world this makes no sense. There is nothing to be nostalgic about. Colonial pasts and uneven struggles for the right to self-determination in the international system are more topical (Clapham 1996). The key concern is whether or not the new trends will accentuate inequalities or not. There will not be much faith in an emerging post-national democracy which does not explicitly acknowledge the fundamental inequality among states. Questions of hierarchy in the emerging world society and post-national democracy need to be tackled much more directly.



This discussion of the globalisation debate and two central themes in it: the creation of transnational polities and the dislocation of politics has shown first the importance engaging the debate and in taking the tension that the process of globalisation is creating between the transnational and the state centred aspects of international politics seriously; whether or not one believes that it fundamentally alters (international) politics.

In this vein, it has been argued against the exceedingly common ostrich behaviour: "globalisation" is defined as making some obviously stupid claim (e.g. all countries are (will be) the same; the state has (is bound) to disappear; markets are (will be) perfectly integrated etc.). It is then demonstrated that this claim does not hold. There is usually a concession to the effect that important transformations are going on in the conclusion. But instead of starting from here and discussing the implications, the debate is allowed to end where it should actually have started.

The paper then proceeded to argue that the best way of getting around this ostrich strategy is to define globalisation in a way that makes this kind of argument impossible. It argued in favour of defining globalisation as a process whose nature, causes, consequences are what should be studied by the type of approach best suited the interest of the person engaging with it.

After this, the paper engaged with the two central themes in the debate: the emergence of transnational polities and the related dislocation of politics. This discussion left many questions unanswered. Globalisation creates transnational communities, points of reference, and politics. But there is still much to be said about the processes by which this is done, how these vary and what the exact implications are in various places. Similarly, the development of transnational polities is challenging the state. But there is still plenty of room for thinking about what kind of challenge this is for which kind of state and what it implies for politics. In particular it seems important to elaborate on the idea of "ungovernance", i.e. the idea that losses in state capacity and control are not necessarily matched by gains by some other political institution. It may well be that political power evaporates. But how much and where? Finally, everyone (not only the three authors central to this discussion) are intrigued by the weight of private actors (business, bankers, mafias), NGOs and civil society in politics at a transnational level. But there is still much to be done in thinking about what this entails for political processes and for the prospect of democratisation above the state. Finally, it is clear that countries are not equals in the face of these processes. But what is at the origin of this unequality and how could it be dealt with at the international level? To this one might add the general question of what the implication of this "transformation of politics" is for armed conflict.

One way of concluding would be to say that these questions remain open because the three authors under scrutiny here (Beck 2000; Habermas 1998; Held et al. 1999) have no answers to them. This is of course true. But to stop there would be too easy. It would amount to forgoing a broader (and more interesting) conclusion about the research agenda emerging from the globalisation debate. Indeed, it is simply not the case that plenty of other authors "out there" have written extensively on these issues. Of course there is some literature on all and each of these questions. However, fundamentally the truth is that there is still plenty of thinking and research to be done. And clearly, asking the questions is the first step on the road to doing just that.



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Note 1: Thanks are due to Chris Browning, Barry Buzan, Jaap de Wilde, Stefano Guzzini, Lene Hansen, Morten Kelstrup, and Katalin Sárváry for taking time to read and comment on an earlier draft of this working paper. Further comments on this work in progress are more than welcome.  Back.

Note 2: For excellent overviews, see (Guillen 2001 forthcoming; Higgott and Reich 1998; Langely 2000; Lechner and Boli 2000; Scholte 2000; Strange 1998).  Back.

Note 3: This formulation is borrowed from Hassner (1998: 274), but the idea itself is widespread in the literature.  Back.

Note 4: This paper is an outgrowth of a review I wrote (Leander 2001 forthcoming) on three recent contributions to the globalisation debate all of which adopt roughly this definition of globalisation (Beck 2000; Habermas 1998; Held et al. 1999). And indeed one of the reasons for the choice to review these authors was the wish to insist on the importance of a wider (sociological) concept of globalisation. The thinking of these authors is a key point of reference in the discussion to follow.  Back.

Note 5: An extreme example of this is Waltz'(2000) rejection of globalisation exclusively on the basis of Ohmae's (1995) datedoutdated and simplistic account.  Back.

Note 6: For a forceful critique of this argument as advanced by Stephen Krasner, see Strange (1994).  Back.

Note 7: For a similar points see also (Reich 1992) and (Strange 1998).  Back.

Note 8: Polanyi's argument is that 20th Century fascism and communism, and the horrors of the second world war, have to be understood as the reaction to 19th Century liberalism and its attempt to turn labour, land and money into commodities ruled by self-regulating markets.  Back.

Note 9: They define globalisation as: "a process (or set of processes) which embodies a transformation in the spatial organization of social relations and transactions—assessed transactions— assessed in terms of their extensity, intensity, velocity and impact—generating transcontinental or inter-regional flows and networks of activity, interaction, and the exercise of power" (Held et al. 1999: 16).  Back.

Note 10: Note the similarity between this reflexive conception and that of Giddens (2000) with whom Beck has worked extensively.  Back.

Note 11: Politics, organised violence, trade, finance, production, migration, culture, and the environment.  Back.

Note 12: Unfortunately it would take too long to go through these eight dimensions in detail. Let me just mention that the spatio-temporal dimensions are: the extensity of global networks, the intensity of global interconnectedness, the velocity of global flows and the impact propensity of global interconnectedness. The organizational dimensions are: the infrastructure of globalisation, the institutionalisation of global networks and the exercise of power, the pattern of global stratification and the dominant modes of global interaction (Held et al. 1999: summary box, p. 21).  Back.

Note 13: Examples of authors using roughly equivalent definitions are Scholte (2000), Mittelman (2000), O'Brien (2000), Guillen (2001 forthcoming), and Patomäki (2000). The definition also seems to be increasingly used in public debates, by personalities including e.g. Kofi Annan (Information, 30-1.12.200).  Back.

Note 14: For instance, Higgott and Reich (1998) distinguish between those interested in the historical, economic, ideological and sociological/technological aspects of globalisation.  Back.

Note 15: Habermas (1998: 61 e.g.) repeatedly returns to the idea that it is necessary to avoid "anthropological universals".  Back.

Note 16: See e. g. Robertson (1992), Castells (1996a), Zelizer (1999), Manners (2000), and Giesen (1997).  Back.

Note 17: The work on the exact mechanisms and different effects on different states is only in its beginnings (e.g. Scharpf 2000) and the authors can hardly be blamed for not getting into the details of these debates in their discussions.  Back.

Note 18: For this point see also Castells (1996c: 10).  Back.

Note 19: For a more detailed development of this point see Castells (1996b: chap.1 passim).  Back.

Note 20: The spread of the attachment to human rights and democracy across the world is the reason for which Habermas rejects the usual readings of 20th Century history. The usual reading is that the century is structured by the opposition between democracies and totalitarian states (Furet); capitalism and socialism (Hobsbawn) or competing philosophies of history (Nolte) and that this defining opposition begins with world war one and ends with the fall of the Berlin wall. Habermas, however argues that from the end of the second world war, the defeat of fascism marks the victory of the "universal spirit of the enlightenment" and a profound shift in the cultural climate which allows for the successive spread of democracy throughout the globe (Habermas 1998: 71-9).  Back.

Note 21: This is the argument at the root of David Held's work on the deficiency of national democracy and the need for a cosmopolitan one.  Back.

Note 22: For elaboration on this point see e.g. Finnemore (1998).  Back.

Note 23: On this subject it is enough to think about the heavily mediatized debate surrounding ATTAC and its actions at the recent political summits of the EU as well as of the IMF and the WTO. See also Zürn (2000) and for very opposite arguments to the effect that non-majoritarian forms of "regulatory governance" and governance in "negotiating systems" may actually increase rather than decrease legitimacy, see Scharpf (2000).  Back.

Note 24: For more extensive treatment of the role of NGOs see Keck (1998) and O'Brien (2000).  Back.

Note 25: For a critique of the idea that this "solution" ever worked, consider Strange (1999).  Back.

Note 26: In an essay titled "Conceptions of Modernity: two traditions" Habermas deals with the related philosophical debate about incommensurability produced by the linguistic turn in social sciences. He argues in favour of a "neo-classical" pragmatic understanding of the role of language leading to a reflexive understanding of modernity which makes it possible to overcome the (post-modern) claims of incommensurability. Also Beck (2000) builds on this argument in his claim that we have moved into a "second modernity" rather than a post-modern era.  Back.

Note 27: This is a point made by Wendt who claims that accusing his theory of international politics of state-centrism "i.e. arguing that international politics is about more than what states do is like accusing a theory of forests for being tree centric" (Wendt 1999: 9; 2000: 174). To stick with the analogy, the obvious answer is that if a forest is dying because of acid rains or the greenhouse effect or if the kind of trees growing there is altered by plantations or deforestation, looking exclusively at trees will not be particularly illuminating.  Back.

Note 28: Arguably as pointed out by Mitchell (1998) this was always illusory and Habermas overstates the novelty of the problem.  Back.

Note 29: The French journal Cultures en mouvement organised a conference (6.12.2000) around Habermas with Alain Tourain and Dominque Schnapper where this point was the key point of contention. See also Appadurai (1998).  Back.

Note 30: This is hotly debated (Hay and Marsh 2000; Huber and Stephens 1998; Pierson 1998).  Back.

Note 31: This crowd includes both those who reject globalisation and those who think of it as very important (Evans 1997; Mann 1997).  Back.

Note 32: Habermas has taken this expression up from the German debate. It has come to some early fame when Willy Brandt used it in his Nobel Price Speech (Hassner 1972). Later, it has been picked up and developed by Senghaas (1992). It indicates that distinction between domestic and international politics, where international politics are about the relations of states with each other is untenable as many of the domestic issues have spilled across international borders. Held does not use the term but concurswith the substantive argument (445).  Back.

Note 33: Held has written extensively elsewhere on the kind of concrete reforms the realisation would require. In particular a reform of the UN is at the centre of his thinking (1995). In this book, however, this aspect of the project is not developed.  Back.

Note 34: The ones Beck point to are the polarisation of world capitalist society into globalized rich and localised poor; the creation of world risk society which requires a revision of the meaning of proof, truth and justice (a second enlightenment); and finally the competitive relationship that exists between national states and societies and the world society (95-107).  Back.

Note 35: This is the last point of many Habermas deals with to reject arguments against the deepening and democratization of the EU.  Back.