Re: States as actors.

Fri, 11 Apr 1997 11:37:24 -0400 (EDT)

Not only are nation states being reorganized for economic reasons
described below--they are being torn apart or superceded from forces above
and below. Ask Margaret Thatcher about the former. for the latter, i
suggest looking at the new constitutions drafted in places like Colombia,
South Africa, and uganda--which sound a lot more like they were put
together by the sort of people called 'multiculturalists' here in the uS
than by people influenced by the models of republics, people's democracies
and other shiboleths of the nation state. nation states depend on people
idenitifying themselves as part of the nation in question--this never
really happened in a number of African 'nation states' and is happening
less in places like the US, where, I would add, the people who don't
closely identify themselves with the fate of the 'American nation', but
instead with smaller groups living within the territory of the US are
well represented among the intelligentsia. As far as I can tell the
opposite is true of Europe--there, regardless of the actual popularity of
the EEC among the 'masses' it has a great deal of credibility among the
intellectual elites throughout Europe.

Steven Sherman
Binghamton University

On Wed, 9 Apr 1997, Andrew Wayne Austin wrote:

> Warren Wager views world-systems theory as likable because of its view of
> the nation-states, specifically that the nation-state is still relevant
> and that *all* talk of the demise of the nation-state is "preposterous."
> Nation-states are still relevant, however they cannot be taken as the unit
> of analysis. Moreover, nation-states in much world system theorizing are
> rendered in either anthropomorphic fashion (lumbering giants walking the
> earth) or inserted into illegitimately teleological schemes (an inherent
> problem in systems analysis). There are better nonreductive conceptions of
> the behavior of capitalist states, such as Poulantzas and even Skocpol.
> However, not even world systems theory blinds itself to the objective
> world-historical forces "unfolding" before our eyes. Nation-states are
> being re-organized from their structure under an interstate system to fit
> more efficiently and profitably transnational system. Even if Warren
> wishes to give nation-states considerable power, as I do as well, they are
> still not the primary players in the current context. Remember, the power
> of world systems theory was its claim to be taking the entire world as its
> unit of analysis. We should start here in our analysis of current
> structural transformations.
> Andrew Austin.