Reconfiguring Power in a Globalizing World

Philip G. Cerny

in Rethinking World Politics

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199733699
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199776740 | DOI:
Reconfiguring Power in a Globalizing World

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This chapter identifies a range of ways in which the character of power itself is being transformed by globalization. Today, the international system is undergoing a fundamental process of structural change that is transforming the way power is conceived, shaped, built up, organized, and used. This process of the reconfiguration of power increasingly cuts across state borders and is embedded in new but still embryonic forms of global governance, reflecting the sort of “higher” normative values that domestic actors have always pursued at home, shaped by transnational interests and global civil society rather than interstate conflict, organized through transnational and transgovernmental networks rather than unified foreign policy elites and military command structures, and informed by a growing sense that the use of force is becoming increasingly counterproductive in an international system characterized by complex interdependence; and, indeed, that international power must be increasingly civilianized and domesticated to be both effective and legitimate in a globalizing world. Given the increasingly counterproductive and delegitimized character of power in a globalizing world, transnational actors linked across borders are not merely taking advantage of new permissive conditions but are driving further change, both proactively and in feedback fashion.

Keywords: power; international relations; globalization; world politics

Chapter.  8094 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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