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Expansion and Fragmentation

Expansion and Fragmentation: Internationalization, Political Change and the Transformation of the Nation-State

Kees van Kersbergen
Robert H. Lieshout
Grahame Lock
Copyright Date: 1999
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Expansion and Fragmentation
    Book Description:

    Is the end of the nation-state approaching, now that the international economy takes less and less notice of borders between countries and the European Union has already acquired so much political power? What does national autonomy mean when governments delegate any number of powers to international organizations? Internationalization leads to political change, and the position of the nation-state appears to be undergoing a radical process of erosion. The surprising conclusion of this book is that the political significance of the state will not be lost. The analyses show that both expansion and fragmentation of political power are characteristics of fundamental political change. While it is true that the state is delegating authority and that internationalization is limiting autonomy, the state is also finding new forms of cooperation and coordination, both nationally and internationally, to preserve and even to strengthen its power and autonomy. Contrary to widely held assumptions, the idea of a progressive weakening of the nationstate does not prove tenable. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0579-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 7-10)
  4. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 11-22)
    Kees van Kersbergen, Robert H. Lieshout and Grahame Lock

    We live, as is often remarked, in a fast-changing world. Some of the changes to which we are witness - and which are of practical concern to us all - lie in the political sphere. For instance, advanced societies are marked, among other things, by complex shifts in the power and competence of the nation state. It is said that state and society are becoming increasingly interwoven, leading to a ‘politicization of society’ and a ‘socialization of the state’. This implies that the tasks and responsibilities of the nation state are in continuous expansion. Yet a process of ‘individualization’ and...

  5. 2 Ringing the Changes: Mutations in the Idea of Political Change
    (pp. 23-42)
    Grahame Lock

    The Russian Narodnik Zhelyabov, assassin in 1881 of Tsar Alexander II, is said to have acted on the maxim that ‘history moves too slowly - it needs a push’ (Brown 1995: 96). Zhelyabov gave it one. So too, more notoriously, did Gavrilo Princip and Marinus van der Lubbe, among many others impatient for change.

    Not long after Zhelyabov’s deed (and some time before those of Princip and ofvan der Lubbe) the Russian Marxist - and anti-Narodnik - Plekhanov published an essay on The Role of the Individual in History. He argued that no individual can buck the ‘logic’ of history....

  6. 3 The Limits of Theory: Detecting Contemporary Global Change and Predicting the Future of the States System
    (pp. 43-70)
    WiZ Haut and Robert H. Lieshout

    In this chapter we explore the extent to which a systems approach to international relations can help us get a grip on the changes that are, and have been taking place in the international system. We will do this by focusing on two crucial changes characterizing the contemporary global order, which can have far-reaching consequences for the existing Westphalian states system: (1) the end of the bipolar structure of the international political system, which had been with us since the middle of the 1950s, as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union and its disappearance as a superpower,...

  7. 4 National Political Systems: the Changing Boundaries of Politics?
    (pp. 71-88)
    Kees van Kersbergen

    For any comparative political scientist, statements like the following must sound alarming:

    the terms ‘country’, ‘state’, ‘national political system’ have become obsolete as useful units of analysis in comparative political studies;

    the increasing interdependence of nation states and the decline of the autonomous power of public decision-making imply that cross-national research is increasingly meaningless (cf. Daalder 1993: 170-71);

    we do not have the conceptual tools to describe and adequately explain the growing dissociation between authoritative allocations, territorial constituencies and functional competencies (cf. Schmitter 1996);

    theoretically, the discipline cannot make sense of the diffusion of political authority;

    the independence of the...

  8. 5 Changing Shape, Changing Form: Liberal Democracy without the Classical State
    (pp. 89-106)
    Marcel Wissenburg

    Political theory, particularly the mainstream liberal school¹ with its interest in the design and vindication of liberal-democratic institutions, is to a large degree predicated on the existence of a sovereign nation state as a necessary condition for the existence and protection in sociery of liberal-democratic values. It might be argued that the idea of the sovereign nation state as the central unit of politics no longer corresponds to realiry. The state may still be sovereign and (up to this day) be central to political life, yet cracks are appearing between the actual power of states and the formal marks of...

  9. 6 International Organizations as Sources of Political Change
    (pp. 107-124)
    Bob Reinalda

    In my analysis of international organizations as sources of political change I distinguish betweenthree successive perspectives on social and political change.These perspectives are labelled evolutionary, functional and governance, respectively. The first and third perspectives focus upon dynamics and change, the second upon stability and continuity. I am interested in the position of international organizations (IOs) in a world of nation states according to these perspectives on change: in what way are international organizations sources of political change?

    It should be noted that the assessment of IOs has been the object of evolution itself. A shift has occurred from...

  10. 7 The Impact of European Integration on Domestic Political Change and National Autonomy
    (pp. 125-144)
    Markus Haverland

    The European Union is one of the most powerful sources of domestic political change in Europe. Moreover, among all aspects of internationalization, European economic, political and legal integration is probably the most visible and most immediate challenge to national autonomy. European integration may not have resulted in a loss of national sovereignty (cf. Van Kersbergen 1998: 16-20), but it certainly affected dramatically the range of national political power and national policy-making. In this chapter I hope to demonstrate the extent and complexity, as well as the ambiguity of the impact of European integration on European Union member states.

    In the...

  11. 8 The Irrelevance of Globalization: the State and the Energy Sector in Russia’s Transformation
    (pp. 145-160)
    Anton Weenink and Aad Carrelje

    Few states seem to have lost effective control to the degree that Russia did over the past decade. During the Gorbachev reforms, and in particular after the Law on State Enterprises of 1987, it had already become clear that the Soviet state was losing its grip on society. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 aggravated this development, particularly for Russia as the largest successor state. With the Communist Party outlawed, the new Russian government lacked the institutional framework that had given at least a semblance of cohesion to the Soviet system. The federal government and the President soon...

  12. 9 European Tripartism: Convergence in Topics, Persistent Divergence in Decision Making
    (pp. 161-176)
    Hans Slomp

    Does globalization enforce a development towards one European model of labour relations, or do national variations persist? In this comparison of peak-level contacts and, in particular, recent tripartite social pacts, the thesis of convergence versus divergence is the main topic. However, the focus is on convergence and divergence ininternational patternsof industrial relations rather thannational models.The question here is not so much one of diverging developments in countries that used to have similar systems of labour relations, and common trends in countries with different types of labour relations, but one of convergence or divergence between groups of...

  13. 10 Global Sisterhood and Political Change: the Unhappy ‘Marriage’ of Women’s Movements and Nation States
    (pp. 177-194)
    Canny Roggeband and Mieke VeTloo

    Global sisterhood is perhaps not the most common example to highlight the consequences of globalization, yet - as this chapter will show - it provides an interesting analysis of the relationship between the national and the global level, and consequently for an answer to the question of the importance of the nation state in a context of ongoing globalization. Global sisterhood, as a major concept in the history of the women’s movement that accentuates the common ground on which the global women’s movement is founded, has had very material consequences. The similarities between women’s movements across countries, not only at...

  14. 11 Conclusion: Developing the Research Agenda
    (pp. 195-206)
    Kees van Kersbergen, Robert H. Lieshout and Grahame Lock

    We have already glimpsed, in the various contributions to this volume, a selected sample of the questions that must be dealt with in any serious consideration of the theme of internationalization or globalization in its relation to the topic of change in the form and function of the nation state. Our own hypothetical point of departure was that ‘the nation state is a historical phenomenon that is enduring yet variable’. This hypothesis is still in the process of being investigated and tested.

    The authors represented in the volume are generally critical of the ‘globalization thesis’, in particular insofar as this...

  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 207-234)
  16. Index
    (pp. 235-240)