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14 - Statehood as Process: The Modern State Between Closure and Openness

from Part III - Crossing Boundaries

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 December 2021

Helge Dedek
Affiliation:
McGill University, Montréal
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Summary

In Patrick Glenn’s The Cosmopolitan State, the reciprocal relationship between ‘elements of closure’ and the ‘cosmopolitan way’ plays a central role. The goal of this chapter is to adopt his perspective on such tensions within statehood, in order to illustrate and concretize their reciprocal relationship in three areas: ‘knowledge’ and its generation and dissemination, ‘sovereignty’, and ‘citizenship’. These areas mirror the elements of closure identified by Glenn, namely, ‘boundaries’, ‘hierarchy’, and ‘writing’. Transposing these elements in such a manner helps to illustrate the sequence of processes that limit a cosmopolitan opening up of states. In all three examples provided, the actual ‘driving forces’ of ‘elements of closure’ are nationalization processes, whether this involves the nationalization of knowledge or the legal notions of sovereignty and citizenship, which function as indispensable requisites for the self-interested life of the nation state. With the processes of progressive economic interdependency, along with the increased mobility as a result of the development of transport and communication technology and transnational migration, these protective walls of national statehood have come under ever-increasing pressure. Ultimately, however, as this chapter will show, it took the idea of human rights as a globally valid legal concept to bring this bastion down.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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