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Waning Sovereignty? The Kindred Myths of “Origins” and “Vanishing” of the State

DOI: 10.4236/ojps.2017.73032, PP. 394-420

Keywords: Sovereignty, State, Globalization, Neoliberalism, Historical Institutionalism

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Abstract:

This article discusses, from an historical-neo-institutionalist and relational-strate- gic perspective, the postmodern thesis of the end of the state due to the increasing processes of world globalization. The main hypothesis is that the arguments which predict the structural crisis or the disappearance of the State in the age of neo-liberal globalization have their roots in a theoretically and historically implausible concept of sovereignty that ignores and distorts central aspects of statehood and state-building in terms of both institutional structure and political action. The myth of the “origins” of the State in Medieval or Renaissance times shares with the postmodern vision of the “vanishing” of the state, the same underlying misconception of the scope and limits of the state power. Sovereignty (the monopolization of political power) was always a claim, a desiderata, a contested andunfinished political project not an accomplished empirical fact.

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