Frameless Pictures of Globalisation

Posted in Other | 13-Feb-07 | Author: Dr Jernej Pikalo

The International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) in Ljubljana, Slovenia, regularly analyses events in the Middle East and the Balkans. Dr Jernej Pikalo, Assistant Professor at the Faculty for Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, and Member of Council of the International Institute IFIMES, in his article "Frameless Picture of Globalisation" points out some aspects, which reflect the state-globalisation relations. His article, where he tries to read globalization with Subject, as a political process and not as a depoliticised natural reality, is published in full.

In the early years of the current globalisation debates it has become a sort of fashion in certain academic circles to speak of the demise of the state as a response to globalisation pressures (Cable, 1995; Dunn, 1995; Horsman and Marshall, 1994; Strange, 1995). Government policy papers and newspaper reports (so called ‘common sense’ or ‘conventional wisdom’ views) were and are full of these accounts of the state-globalisation relationship. Although we have seen an explosion of academic literature proving it contrary in many different ways and on numerous accounts (e.g. Thompson and Hirst, 1995; Panitch, 1995; Jessop, 1999; Zysman, 1996), and literature that sees the relationship as a false opposition (e.g. Amoore et al., 1997), the problem remains1. It looks as though this demise-of-the-state neo-liberal view has hijacked the conventional wisdom and is shaping our perception of the state-globalisation relationship on a much more sophisticated level that we are ready to admit.

In the globalisation discourses is the state chiefly seen in three ways: as a victim of globalisation forces, as its facilitator or as a neutral agent.2 Liberals and neo-liberals tend to agree that there is a global economic frame, based on the global capitalist production that is constraining or enabling states in their actions. The process of enabling or constraining is presented as a process without a Subject, without will, as if it was something driven by natural condition of things themselves. The aim of the paper is therefore to try to uncover logic behind such reasoning by employing interpretive procedure. The paper will try to dig out reason and will behind such thinking (if there is one) and will try to read globalisation with a Subject. Can globalisation be read as an intentional action? Why is it always presenting itself as unintentional and where does this kind of reasoning stem from?

Globalist thinking

Let us illustrate the so-called ‘globalist’ thinking on globalisation with some quotes:

The Socialist International in Declaration of Paris:

Humankind is witnessing a new change of era marked by the phenomenon of globalisation [...] Macroeconomic policies which are disciplined by the operation of the global financial markets have been constrained in what they can attempt to achieve and compelled to meet stringent requirements relating to public deficits, inflation etc. (Socialist International, 1999)

Sir Leon Brittan, in the capacity of Vice President of the European Commission:

Globalisation is a fact of life, and will continue irrespective and independent of the activities of government. The issue is not whether we can accept or reject it, but how to ensure it is channelled in positive directions. It is vital that national and international organisations acknowledge the impact of globalisation and respond accordingly (Brittan, 1999).

Janez Drnovšek, then Slovenian Prime Minister:

Globalisation is a fact of life. Processes of globalisation have been going on for some time and a question has arisen as to what is the best policy for an individual or a small state as Slovenia with regard to globalisation. We cannot be global players and actively influence these processes. To the far greater extend these processes influence us and create an environment in which we are striving to establish the best possible existence (Drnovšek, 2002).

Mojca Drcar Murko, columnist for Slovenian daily Delo:

Logic of uninhibited trade and free-flowing capital, based on great technical innovations and technological novelties, rounded-up with the term "globalisation" has fundamentally changed world politics. We are witnessing an era of changes which end-results are unknown. Social pacts, outcomes of great political battles of the 20th century, have been in this process annulled, to the same extent as traditional ranking of countries based on power (Drcar Murko, 2002, 1).

People and organisations mentioned come from a variety of ideological positions. Yet strangely, they speak dangerously similar language, based on similar ideas and preconceptions. They all speak something Fairclough (1999) has called "language of new capitalism". Capitalist mode of production is distinctive for its periodic renewal of the bases of economic expansion, and, in doing so, it re-articulates and re-scales the relations between economic, social and political. New technologies, new modes of economic co-ordination, and increasing subsumption of extra-economic relations under the logic of capital accumulation are forming a basis for a restructured capitalism. Governments and organisations of different political persuasions are taking this new operational logic as a mere fact of life. The predominant response to this logic throughout the world, also in Slovenia, has been neo-liberalism. Neo-liberalism is a political project for the re-structuring and re-scaling of social relations in accord with the demands of an unrestrained global capitalism (Bourdieu). It has been enormously successful in incorporating itself as a mode of thinking to almost any political party, be it on the left or right of the traditional political divisions.

Incorporation has gone so far so that one can speak of orthodoxy of the certain view. One can speak of a new universal spirit of our time, new ecumenical evangelism that is being spread by a cohort of statesmen and politicians, officials of international organisations, managers, civil servants and journalists. Neo-liberalism is not just powerful economic theory, it also has a symbolic power that reaches beyond simple economic reality it describes.

This is of course not to say that neo-liberalism can be the only response to the processes of globalisation. Contrary to what some think, there are alternative policies available for handling these processes. I believe we are doing harm to our thinking about globalisation already by tacitly acknowledging that "globalisation is out there, somewhere" and that there are responses to it (in many shapes or forms, e.g. neo-liberalism). By doing this we are being ontologically framed (in both senses of the word) to a position of foundationalism and universalism, where globalisation is treated as if it has the same meaning across cultures and across time, processes of globalisation take place independently of our beliefs, rational structure, are not socially and culturally embedded, and not seen as a complex socially constructed events.

Slovenia's political responses to globalisation have not been so different to other states. Yet, especially with reigning political elite, there has been a strong tendency to suggest that because of Slovenia's smallness in terms of economy and the number of people, there are hardly any viable policy responses to globalisation other than neo-liberal orthodoxy. Globalisation has repeatedly been used as a scapegoat for many political measures or arguments that would otherwise need different justification.

Structural features of the discourse

Discourse on globalisation as presented above has some commonalities. Technological change is presented as the driving force of globalisation, i.e. changes in science, technology, and production methods essentially determine the future of workers, managers, the state and their interrelationships (cf. Crook, 1997, 5; Mann, 1997, 473; Langhorne, 2000, xi; Cable, 1995, 25-26). In discourses on globalisation is Internet and computer-based technology increasingly seen as its main driving force (cf. Scholte, 2000:74-86). Technology is supposed to lead to better future. Mike Moore, Director General of the WTO, has expressed this as, "Technology can be the friend of the people. Nobody wants yesterday's medicine" (Moore, 2000). Technological change is seen as an "iron cage" and it is presumably beyond control.

Globalisation is framed in the essentialistic manner (Amoore et al., 1997, 183; Weldes, 2001, 651; cf. Fairclough, 1999; Hobson and Ramesh, 2002, 7). It is supposed to be an essential frame that has no viable alternatives. It is described as something that increasingly sets parameters of political and economic processes: "Globalisation is unavoidable. Globalisation cannot – even if we wanted – be resisted, because it is already a fact" (Rupel, 2002, 3).

Globalisation is described as something leading towards convergence. From divergent starting points and diverse institutional bases states and societies are supposed to become increasingly alike. Development is seen as a linear universal process that in all cases follows same path. States and societies are seen objectively, leaving their historic and socially specific developments aside.

Globalisation is presented instrumentally (Amoore et al., 1997, 184). There is a tendency to simplify the description of change in order to prescribe a set of formulae to manage change. Picture of globalisation is being painted with broad strokes of a brush. Such picture is invariably impressionistic, despite making claims to cross-subjective objectivity. Globalisation is seen as a tool for a variety of (un)popular (in literal sense of the word) decisions that are being prescribed to states and societies. Policies look "as if they were dictated by matters of fact (thematic patterns) and deflect consideration of values of choices and the social, moral and political responsibility for such choices" (Lemke, 1995, 60). Technical discourse is employed to present complex process in shorthand numerical terms, which are in our societies seen value-neutral, objective, as "facts" on the basis of which decisions can be made "objectively" (Fairclough, 1999)

Globalisation is presented as benign process, with mild or positive effects. Ohmae (1996, 1) sees in globalisation a process that leads to a brighter future: "Now that the bitter ideological confrontation sparked by this century's collision of 'isms' has ended, larger number of people from more points on the globe than ever before have aggressively come forward to participate in history. They have left behind centuries, even millennia, of obscurity in the forest and desert and rural isolation to request from the world community – and from the global economy that links it together – a decent life for themselves and a better life for their children". Social conflict that is being generated by new modes of capitalist production and its organisation is in this view confined to the adjustment phase and is viewed only as temporary by-product of restructuring.

The representation of globalisation in such discourses takes place without human agent, without a Subject. Human (or any other agent) agent is either inanimate or abstract. To the reader this gives an impression that globalisation is driven by natural condition of things themselves and is not dependent upon beliefs of any people about it. That is how it is and there is nothing that can be done or changed except to adjust to the reality of globalisation. It looks as though globalisation is just happening to us (cf. Fairclough, 1999a). Objectivism in its purest form is the name of the game in town: "The world consists of objects that have properties and stand in various relationships independent of human understanding. The world is as it is, no matter what any person happens to believe about it, and there is one correct "God's-Eye-View" what the world really is like. In other words, there is a rational structure to reality, independent of beliefs of any people, and correct reason mirrors this rational structure" (Johnson, 1987, xi).

If there is no Subject, it is hardly surprising that there is no wish. Wish is absent from such discourses on globalisation. There is almost no talk about how multinational companies want unrestricted access to world markets, there is no talk about free trade, minimal state, etc. Absence of wish stems from seeing globalisation as a process without an agency, as a ‘natural’ thing, as if globalisation was a consequence of a natural condition or some divine plan, and not of human making. Seeing matters in naturalised way is a well-known feature of liberal (e.g. Adam Smith’s invisible hand of the market) and neo-liberal discourses. Neo-liberal globalisation presents itself as a consequence and NOT as an initiative or a wish. It is not something some agents want to do or have wanted to do, it is rather something that is happening to us. Anonymous forces of globalisation are apparently beyond our reach and scope, and are therefore not manageable.3

A picture without a frame

With all structural features of the discourse in mind, one wonders whether the discourse can be taken as the whole picture about globalisation. There are people, like myself, doubters by profession, who are rarely satisfied with ready-made answers and descriptions. It is in our nature to refuse to succumb to the hermetically sealed and there-is-no-alternative approach. Doubts and questions always remain with us. We always look beyond the picture, we try to see at the whole exhibition, we want to contextualise the picture.

A frame is for a picture not just a simple decoration. It tells the viewer where does the picture start and end and what is a background of the picture. It delimits it from the background while at the same time giving it definite borders. It frames the picture's contents, sets them in relationship with the background and act as an intermediary between the picture and the background. Frame can be considered as a context to the picture that is in correspondence with the background of epistemic reality. It is an integral part of it, giving it structure and existence.

The discourse on globalisation has thus far painted picture without a frame. There it is, the sole picture, hermetically sealed, not needing nor wishing any correspondence with the contextual frame, speaking about itself and for itself. It is real because it proclaims to be real, without situating itself in a wider discourse. But one should, being professional doubter, ask oneself whether it would be possible to recover the frame, to look behind and beyond stripped picture in order to get better understanding of it. Can a frame, that has been silenced and downgraded, tell a story different from the message of the picture itself? Can recovering a frame lead a way to a fuller picture of the processes of globalisation? Can it change the perception of a picture of globalisation? Is the key to proper understanding of globalisation processes in recovering a wish that has been silenced? There have undoubtedly been many interests behind the globalisation discourse and it has repeatedly been used as a scapegoat for many economic and political measures that would have otherwise not taken place.

Before we proceed to the contexts of the globalisation discourse, there is an issue about discourses we need to note. Discourses may seem to some as just mediums for presenting the world more or less accurately, but there is a second, not secondary task, for discourses, that is constructing the reality (Connolly, 1993; Miliken, 1999). In other words, discourses both describe and ascribe, present and construct the reality. This issue is important since the globalisation discourse as presented tends to omit constructing function of discourses. This stems from the objectivist and foundationalist conviction of a given world out there.

So, what to do, so that silenced frame of the processes of globalisation would resurface? Where to look for answers? Bartelson (1995, 61) provides a hint:

The key to proper understanding of a text lies in what the author intended to do in and by writing it; what sort of society was he writing for and trying to persuade; what set of ideological conventions constrained or enabled this enterprise, and how was he trying to use or manipulate them? We should use the particular social, political, cultural and linguistic context, not in order to explain causally why that which was written indeed was written, but in order to recover and understand the intentions or point embodied in the act of writing it.

Globalisation is in the discourse presented as unintentional. This may seem as a rather benign point in analysing it, but it has deep roots and more far reaching consequences than most of us would be able to predict. Reasons for seeing globalisation as unintentional action are several. Disciplinary division of labour between modern social sciences has caused a vast array of different analyses that tend to describe situations or processes to the most minute details. In doing this, they frequently tend to forget to take into account a bigger picture, and what is even more important, they forget that social and political concepts are relational and not physical-material. They take precisely the things we need to explain – globalisation, states, markets, individuals – as their natural starting points. They don’t see them as relational and historically embedded, but rather as natural, as something fixed, constant over time and space. By thinking about them as natural, as something that is not worth questioning and redefining again and again, as something that is historically non-specific, something that represents starting point, they are of course thought of as unintentional, as just being there by their nature.

Nature plays significant role in our modern awareness. Modernity constitutes itself by changing the idea of God with the idea of nature. ‘Natural’ becomes the starting point of modern awareness, natural becomes ‘sacred’. Our political language is full of ‘natural’ metaphors that are not just describing the political processes and situations, but are rather constitutive of them. We speak of the “body politic”, “arms” or “branches” of government, the “balance” or “equilibria” of power, “nerves” of the government (Becker and Slaton, 2000, 21). We are deliberately or undeliberately naturalising social science phenomena that have completely different 'nature' as natural phenomena. Political concepts are being pulled out of their social, historical and cultural embeddedness just for the sake of simpler and comparable analyses. By being silent about the nature of political concepts, by presenting as natural, as if they are happening because ‘it’s in their nature’4, they are being pushed into a realm of unquestionable and therefore unintentionable. They act as natural starting points, something very few dare and wish to challenge.

One of the ways to save independent thinking on political concepts form fixed relations among natural entities is it to dissolve reified political forms of state, individual, market back to historically specific relations between people who constitute them. Focusing on the state in the globalisation processes, there can be other answers besides nothing-can-be-done-against-globalisation.

It may be one of the consequences of the Anglo-American ideological hegemony that the state was put aside, since it has never found a proper place in Anglo-American thinking, despite theoretical efforts to ‘bring the state back in’ (cf. Evans, 1997, 64). According to Evans (1997, 64), ‘statelessness [is] dominant global ideology and potential institutional reality.’ But what is even more striking in these accounts of the state-globalisation relationship is the easiness and non-reflexive position of how the concepts of state and globalisation are being dealt with, as if the debate about the state started yesterday. In Abrams’s (1988, 59) words, ‘We have come to take the state for granted as an object of political practice and political analysis while remaining quite spectacularly unclear as to what the state is.’ If nothing else, there are three concepts (among myriad of others) that shape the way the state is seen, which in turn influences its role in the globalisation discourse. Space does not permit to go into particular details, so we will just focus on the concepts of sovereignty of the state and of an individual.

The huge debates that have sprung up in the last decade have mainly focused on whether the state has lost its sovereignty because of the processes of globalisation and what are and were the forces that are influencing the sovereign nation-state. Sovereignty is an important concept for the state, since it was through the concept of sovereignty that outsiders and insiders were created, it was through the concept of sovereignty that the states were internally pacified and externally ‘given’ the right to pursue whatever is within their national interest (in Realist terms), it was through the concept of sovereignty that the state got the centre of authority, the origin of law and became the source of individual and collective security (Devetak & Higgott, 1999, 485-86; Bartelson, 1995). But the concept of the sovereignty of the state is all to easy being dealt with in the state-globalisation debate. I will put forward three objections to the views that sovereignty of the state is being eroded in the processes of globalisation:

a) Sovereignty is presented in the neoliberal state-globalisation discourse as an ideal type concept. A question that we should pose to ourselves is not whether the nation-state and with it sovereignty as its main attribute is endangered or not, it is rather has there ever been a nation-state that was actually sovereign? Is there any nation-state today that is sovereign? With organised crime phenomenon being present in almost every nation-state existing today, no state really controls fully its own territory, not to mention its citizens and external challenges to the autonomy of territorial states. Sovereignty as presented in the globalist discourse (cf. Sassen, 1995) is an ideal type concept that was made for an extremely present, clear situation and cannot be, as any ideal type concept, applied in its purest form5. One shouldn’t forget that from the outset sovereignty, in practical terms, was never more than a claim to authority6 and that it never meant absolute control (Ferguson, Mansbach, 1999, 199; Murphy 1996, 87). This also does not mean that sovereignty is a static concept and that understandings of it have not changed over the centuries. For Walker even 'the very attempt to treat sovereignty as a matter of definition and legal principle encourages a certain amnesia about its historical and culturally specific character' (1993, 166; see also Farr, 1989).

b) The concept of sovereignty is taken out of the historic context. This mental operation is usually done by defining what sovereignty is (Hinsley, 1986) and then this view of sovereignty, or for that matter, any other concept, is without any doubt or scepticism compared to all possible empirical data, theses, etc in order to be able to see it in the desired light. ‘Concepts are given definitional value, with it they are linked to other knowledge or concepts, they become part of a dense web of concepts that are defined in each other’s terms. This is the way conceptual analysis typically begins – by closing the concept, while opening up its field of application to divergent interpretations’ (Bartelson, 1995, 14). What we must realise is that meaning and reference of words are not constant through the ages and that it is more than necessary to recover the context in which various works were written in order to understand them (Bartelson, 1995, 61). With regard to sovereignty of a state this mental operation is done by defining what the concept of sovereignty is, without saying, or at least pointing at, special historical circumstances that were surrounding the development of it. Definitions of sovereignty are usually based on a seventeenth century ideal of it, and are clearly indebted to the reasoning about situation when nation-states first became sovereign through the military control of a particular space. Such mental operations are methodologically doubtful since they are describing today’s situation with seventeenth century terms. It is then very easily to say that states are not fully sovereign any more when faced with contemporary social circumstances (such as the appearance of globalising forces), if the concept of sovereignty is defined in seventeenth century terms. Concepts appear as if they are defined once and for all, while the world and social circumstances are changing constantly. Such reasoning is juxtapositioning evolutionary circumstances with static concepts; the critique is not so much directed towards the fact that should change or include evolutionary component, it is rather that concepts, since they are defined a priori, should not aspire to posteriori value or, better, that we shouldn’t be thinking in these terms.

c) Separation of states and markets as crucial for understanding of apparent demise of sovereignty. Liberals tend to agree that politics is something to be kept in isolation from economic forces, since markets are self-standing entities that operate by inertia and any political interference would disrupt the most efficient allocation of resources (cf. Jessop, 1990, 30). Historical data proves this theory wrong. No market in modern history has ever worked freely without some kind of state interference and only a sovereign state with its power has been able to keep markets open and free (cf. Polanyi, 1944, 139; and the whole chapter 12). This explains why those in favour of international capital taking over the sovereign state will wish they weren’t, since a step in this direction would mean the death of free markets as we know them today, which would in turn mean that the most effective allocation of resources would not take place. And it is important to emphasise that ‘not every diminution of the importance of a particular policy tool is the loss of state power.’ (Weiss, 1997, 18)

The notion of a market needs further elaboration. Namely, as already mentioned, laissez faire modern economic philosophy teaches that free markets7 are self-standing entities operating by inertia. It teaches that free markets are the natural condition, while state-regulated markets are artificial. Contrary to that Polanyi (1944, 140) argued that ‘The road to the free market was opened and kept open by an enormous increase in continuous, centrally organized and controlled interventionism.’ Thus, markets have a tendency towards regulation and no market in history has ever been free without the power of the state, since it is the power of the state that keeps markets free or they may lapse into monopolies. This view, claiming that according to the laws of motion of capitalism a process of competition during the period of laissez-faire inevitably leads to the concentration and centralization of capital and hence to a new stage in which monopolies dominate the whole economy, is only partially accurate. It implies that an economy seen in this way is self-sufficient as well as self-expanding in the period of liberal capitalism during which the state is neutral or inactive, while during monopoly stage it is interventionist to overcome stagnation and maintain profits (Jessop, 1990, 34). The state is an ever-present element in capital accumulation, since it is responsible for the institutional framework (the legal system) within which capital accumulation takes place. Marxist approaches have long ago dissolved the orthodox approaches in terms of the state being external to capitalist mode of production. The state needs tax revenues to finance its activities, so its actions are oriented towards the support for capital accumulation8, which is a source of the state’s revenues (Jessop, 1990, 92-93; see also Offe, 1984).

Same pattern can be observed on the global level. ‘[G]lobal laissez-faire doesn’t just come into being by the process of evolution. It has to be introduced by acts of political power just like protectionism’ (Hobsbawm, 1998, 5). One can see this fact by acknowledging the role of the World Trade Organisation as a controller of free trade on a worldwide scale or by the role national governments play in enacting policies such as lifting of capital controls. The power of states in international trade organisations is the one that keeps free trade going9 and actors in global markets cannot operate without some kind of regulation from outside (i.e. from outside of the markets) – what they require is at least some equivalent of a system of law which sanctions to guarantee the performance of contracts. Therefore, we have to refute the view of a free market as a natural (sic!) fact, and start to think about free markets as immanent social relations, that are enabled by strong states. Capital, and states with it, has interests and goals and is doing everything possible to attain them.

This is, of course, not to say that states in their institutional arrangements do not change. Globalisation may not just have major repercussions for capitalism such as supraterritorial mode of organisation (transborder companies, global strategic alliances and transworld business associations) (Scholte, 1997, 429), but also for its institutional arrangements, since with a change in economic role states tend change in institutional form as well (cf. Jessop, 1990, 355; cf. Cerny, 1994). But this is also not to say that states are withering away because of the globalisation processes. It has been shown in numerous accounts and with different types of arguments that state is not withering away: in empirical terms this can be identified through the rise of state’s budgets during the 1990’s, through facilitation by the states of global firms’ operations and profits with suitably constructed property guarantees, tax regimes, labour laws, investment codes, currency regulations and police protection (Scholte, 1997, 442). With the growth in importance of the international markets, this does not mean that the state is doomed because it is ever more dependent on international trade (Evans, 1997, 67). Evans (1997, 67-68) argues that although higher shares of trade may increase a state’s vulnerability, a larger public sector (which is associated with stronger state) provides an efficient counterweight. Examples of East Asian strong states have shown that high stateness can be competitive advantage in a globalising economy, Singapore being the most obvious case in point (Evans, 1997, 69-70; Chen, 1996; Lam and Clark, 1994; Önis, 1991; Wade, 1988; White and Wade, 1988).

Intention is unintentional

Analysis of the previous chapters has shown that globalisation should be read with its frame. Historically, socially and culturally specific forms of the relationship between globalisation and the state yield different outcomes. Globalisation is also far more complex phenomenon then most of the analyses are ready to admit. Contingency of the processes of globalisation has rarely been taken into account. Yet almost all social structures contain elements of contingency and are in constant flux of emerging and re-emerging.

Our job has been to recover the wish behind the processes of globalisation. We’ve seen that wish has been silenced in the name of nature. The processes have been pushed into the realm of natural and therefore unattainable. One of the ways to open-up the debate again is to present and represented globalisation as a political process, not as a depoliticised natural reality. We should politicise globalisation again to be able to establish it as an intentional action. We may even dare to say that the internationality of the globalisation discourse is precisely in its unintentionality. Globalist stories of globalisation are not seining and they do not wish to see – because of political reasons (sic!) – that globalisation goes beyond simple market processes, beyond mere interactions between physical objects, that it is rather a political process.


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Ljubljana, 13 February 2007

International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) – Ljubljana

Bakhtyar Aljaf
Zijad Becirovic, M.Sc.

1 For a great introduction into three waves of the globalisation-state thinking, see Higgott and Payne (2000).

2 Weiss (1997:6) identifies four hypotheses about relationship between state and globalisation: a) strong globalisation - state power erosion (as suggested in works of Reich (1993) Horsman and Marshall (1994)); b) strong globalisation - state power unchanged (Economist (1995) holds that the state never had macroeconomic planning powers it is said to have lost, and that those powers it continues to have are still (regrettably) significant); c) weak globalisation (strong internationalisation) - state power reduced in scope (e.g. Thompson and Hirst (1995)); d) weak globalisation (strong internationalisation) - state power adaptability and differentiation emphasized.

3 Difference between globalisation and universalisation can be interpreted through wish. Universalisation has predominantly been seen as a wished process of unification, while globalisation is a project without common goal, without common base, and without a wish to achieve both. Universalisation is thought to lead to common rules, while globalisation dwells on its diversity.

4 We all remember a brilliant metaphor of a frog that carried a scorpion over the river on its back from Neil Jordan’s Crying Game.

5 One of those the always puzzling questions is whether any type of concept can be identical with itself, can the state be identical with itself in terms of an ideal type concept “corresponding” to “real” situation (in positivist terms)? Nothing can be identical with itself by virtue only of itself, claims Bartelson (1998, 319). ‘Thus rather then merely showing state identity – or any particular identity – to be impossible, this deconstruction of the concept of identity has shown that identity not only is an impossibility, but that identity itself is nothing but another name for that impossibility that hinders the constitution of a full identity-with itself’ (Bartelson, 1998, 319).

6 A question appears about legitimacy of such a claim and what was the purpose behind it.

7 Global markets are of course not to be conflated with free markets.

8 One may object to this position by postulating that the state is not always supporting all interests of capital. But as Jessop (1990, 185) forcefully argued ‘The role of the state is not to promote narrow, economic interests of particular capitals but to secure the social conditions in which market forces can operate to maximise capital accumulation in the long-term’.

9 There is of course a regressive aspect to the World Trade Organisation controlling the free market game. As Gray (1999, 18) showed, the rules of the free market game are not under the scrutiny of democratic control, since free trade on a worldwide scale is under the control of the World Trade Organisation. The rules of the game are elevated beyond any possibility of revision through democratic choices.