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Nation-state and globalization

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documents in English
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11 pages
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  1. Introduction
  2. Economic Globalisation and the Role of the State
    1. The role of the nation state under the modern form of economic globalisation
    2. Globalisation: Not an irreversible structural evolution
    3. Structuralist argument concerned with recent financial developments
    4. Martin Wolf: Answering the claims of the structuralists
  3. Social globalisation and new forms of democracy
    1. Globalisation: Not only a matter of economic integration
    2. The Second World War shock
    3. Being conscious of what is happening on the global scale
    4. Consequences for tyrannical regimes
  4. Conclusion
  5. References

This essay deals with one of the most controversial questions in today's social science debates: the relationship between the nation-state and globalisation. Globalisation, understood quite loosely here as a series of contemporary and unprecedented developments in the economic, social and cultural integration of world market and societies ? in other words, a general sense of the shortening of distance between here and there, us and the Other ? implies a new definition of the field of social relationships, a definition that is much less centred on the national level and takes more account of the global.
In these conditions, the end of the nation-state may be at hand. According to this view, the nation-state, which has been the only entity of international importance since the Westphalia treaties of 1648, is now the subject of increasing strains. It is doomed to lose more and more of its power in the twenty-first century. In the realm of worldwide action and global participation, how can the territorially limited and ideologically outdated nation-state survive ?
One should always be cautious about seemingly-obvious statements, especially on issues of national reach. Lessons from the past show us that the nation-state has flourished from very sturdy roots, roots that have many times proven stronger than the winds of change. Still, some signs, such as the appearance of many new institutions of global governance, cannot be ignored: what scope remains for the state in the new distribution of power brought about by globalisation ?
I will attempt here to show that the most challenging aspect of globalisation for the nation-state is not economic revolution, contrary to common belief. Indeed integration of world markets adds as many opportunities for states as it does bounds to their sovereignty. Globalisation also means new forms of contacts and exchanges between cultures, making people ever more aware of global issues that concern all of humanity. I will argue that it is in this new ?global consciousness? that the greatest threats for the sovereignty and legitimacy of nation-states lie, with one crucial question lying in waiting: will future globalisation be up to the challenge of democracy and accountability?
This essay will be structured around two parts. In the first one, I will tackle the still burning debate of economic globalisation and the fate of the nation-states, taking sides with those who do not want to proclaim the end of the nation-state too soon. In the second part, I will concentrate on more political and social issues, attempting in a few words to show that globalisation requires new forms of democracy that may prove a big challenge to contemporary political organisations.

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