A key debate within International Relations (IR) centers on the character of globalization and what globalization means for the principle of state sovereignty and for the power and functioning of states. Among theorists, realists who argue in favour of the continued importance of states confront constructivists who contend that a number of political entities challenge states while the logic of globalization itself undermines their sovereignty. Drawing on the literatures on state formation and social theory, particularly the works of Weber and Foucault, Iver B. Neumann and Ole Jacob Sending question the terms of the realist-constructivist debate. Through a series of detailed case studies, they demonstrate that the growing importance of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and international organizations (IOs) tends to increase the power of states, because states are able to draw on them indirectly in the effort to uphold social order. Neumann and Sending conclude that the power of states not only depends on the predominance of the states-based system in global politics, but ultimately rests on the individual states' social power. Furthermore, the key to globalization is the neo-liberal rationality of government--a rationality that is creating a global polity where new hierarchies among states as well as between states and other actors have emerged.
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The University of Michigan Press