States are not People: State Theory and IR

Marjo Koivisto

in Normative State Power in International Relations

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199652792
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745270 | DOI:
States are not People: State Theory and IR

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This chapter argues that IR scholars interested in global normative transformations should better theorise institutional forms. In result of methodological choices made in research design, it is argued, the national-territorial ‘level’ is simply taken to be the natural site and extent of modern state power by most IR scholarship. The chapter shows why Weberian-configurational and realist-emergentist approaches, respectively, move the field beyond the impasse of ‘levels’. The state’s theoretical status as an emergent institutional ensemble, reproduced and transformed by strategic/normative political projects of state agents, is discussed. Tying the methodological and ontological strands of the argument together, the third part argues that when both ‘levels’ and ‘units’ of analysis are placed in a philosophical realist explanatory framework, the state will be understood as institutional ensemble on multiple scales of politics, specific to its form, institutions and organizational projects.

Keywords: state power; levels of analysis; multiscalar; institutional ensembles; methodological nationalism

Chapter.  12949 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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