Session 12: Globalizing the nation/state
The What: What is this session on?
This session explores globalization, trying to get its head around the impact of globalization for the
nation/state. What is globalization – i.e. what
definitions and prescriptions
exist within the globalization paradigm? What does this mean for the nation/state? Has the state
'eclipsed' or does it continue to play a role? If so, is this role the same? Or has it changed?
Having spent some time on trying to understand the origins and characteristics of the state,
as well as the state as manifested in the very specific, somewhat localized and definitely ideological
(we will speak of ideology later in the course) guise of nationalism, we now move a level up, and
look at globalization and its effect on the nation/state. We have to date assumed that the nation/state
plays a role, but with the onset of globalization in the 1990s, the role of the state was increasingly
questioned especially within political science, but certainly also within polemical discourse. Though
political science as a discipline seems to have moved on to other debates, the question still remains
pertinent today, as you will read below.
The Why: Why are we focusing on this (importance)?
Let me take you through four different examples to explain the significance of this discussion.
Following the floods, the IMF, the World Bank and the ADB have been pushing the
Pakistani government to implement structural reforms in infrastructure and the public sector before
loans and grants are approved. Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State likewise said that the US
would not give aid until Pakistan attempted to raise funds for flood relief by taxing the wealthy.
Most if not all ruling political parties and formal institutions within Turkey want to be part
of the European Union (EU). But the EU is asking Turkey to implement not only economic reforms,
but reforms related to human rights. The EU is e.g. pushing the Turkish government to grant more
rights to the Kurds.
In July 1998 in Rome, 120 member states of the UN adopted a treaty to establish the first
ever permanent International Criminal Court following a number of individual tribunals (like
Germany's Nuremburg Trials, the Tokyo Tribunals, etc.) around the world.
For years the World Social Forum has been bringing together for
"…an open meeting place
for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas, formulation of proposals, free exchange of
experiences and inter-linking for effective action, by groups and movements of civil society that are
opposed to neo- liberalism and to domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism,
and are committed to building a society centred on the human person". The World Social Forum
typically sees itself as a counter to forums like World Economic Forum in Davos where only
business and government leaders come together, or various state-centric meetings where only the