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Title: In The Beginning There Was and Will Have Been the World or Who's Afraid of the Nation-State?
Author(s): GILL, Andréa B.
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 20    Issue: 1   Date: 2013   
Pages: 7-42
DOI: 10.2143/EP.20.1.2965123

Abstract :
In the abundant calls to respond to the challenges of today’s ‘globalising’ world, the nation-state habitually comes up as a site through which to re-examine the ways that our worlds are (dis)organised. Whether contested from ‘below’ or ‘above’, the nation-state, or rather, its theorists and representatives, are left to relocate a sense of authority through claims to legitimacy and accountability – but where? There are increasing moves to revitalise existing or aspiring world orders by way of community, often referencing a time before or after the hegemonic reign of the nation-state. Community then serves as a source of identity, stability, and ultimately, authority. Whether as a means to transcend or go between the individual and the nation-state as limited bases for ethico-political deliberations, the move toward self-critical, post-national, and post-statist forms of community that address the apparently boundless nature of modern problems has captured the hopes and dreams of experts and non-experts alike. As follows, ‘going global’ – the ultimate rising above a divisive politics – offers us as a shorthand for a progressive ethos, seeking an unified moral foundation from which to remedy the fractures of statist eras to be left behind. In the present article, I respond to the work of Jens Bartelson (from The Critique of the State to Visions of World Community) in order to question the politics of going global. Searching for a world community beyond the nation-state or an original humanity prior to it, Bartelson exemplifies the ways in which progressives go to ‘the global’ to escape the boundedness and fixity of the nation-state, and statism itself. Engaging these emancipatory projects, I argue that a circular, romantic logic is at work in the quest for a politics beyond/before the nation-state. In order to more effectively negotiate the political inheritances from which past and future globalities are being imagined, I grapple with how we think and tell stories about the state in terms of the implications for contemporary questions of global governance, notably through the ever-flexible concept of governmentality. Troubled by the ways in which going global has assumed an implicit ethical project, in the form of a political escape, I ask: what is at stake in appeals to worldly communities as the foundation for global governance today?

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