Global politics

Global politics names both the discipline that studies the political and economical patterns of the world and the field that is being studied. At the centre of that field are the different processes of political globalization in relation to questions of social power.

The discipline studies the relationships between cities, nation-states, shell-states, multinational corporations, non-governmental organizations and international organizations.[1] Current areas of discussion include national and ethnic conflict regulation, democracy and the politics of national self-determination, globalization and its relationship to democracy, conflict and peace studies, comparative politics, political economy, and the international political economy of the environment. One important area of global politics is contestation in the global political sphere over legitimacy.[2]

It can be argued that global politics should be distinguished from the field of international politics, which seeks to understand political relations between nation-states, and thus has a narrower scope. Similarly, international relations, which seeks to understand general economic and political relations between nation-states, is a narrower field than global politics.

Defining the field

Beginning in the late nineteenth century, several groups extended the definition of the political community beyond nation-states to include much, if not all, of humanity. These "internationalists" include Marxists, human rights advocates, environmentalists, peace activists, feminists, and dalits. This was the general direction of thinking on global politics, though the term was not used as such.

Today, the practices of global politics are defined by values: norms of human rights, ideas of human development, and beliefs such as Internationalism or cosmopolitanism about how we should relate to each. Over the last couple of decades cosmopolitanism has become one of the key contested ideologies of global politics:

Cosmopolitanism can be defined as a global politics that, firstly, projects a sociality of common political engagement among all human beings across the globe, and, secondly, suggests that this sociality should be either ethically or organizationally privileged over other forms of sociality.[3]


The intensification of globalization led some writers to suggest that states were no longer relevant to global politics.[4] This view has been subject to debate:

On the other hand, other commentators have been arguing that states have remained essential to global politics. They have facilitated globalizing processes and projects; not been eclipsed by them. They have been rejuvenated because, among other reasons, they are still the primary providers of (military) security in the global arena; they are still the paramount loci for articulating the voices of (procedurally democratic) national communities, and for ordering their interactions with similar polities; and finally, they are indispensable to relations of (unequal) economic exchange insofar as they legitimize and enforce the global legal frameworks that enable globalization in the first place.[5]

See also



  1. See for example, Jan-Erik Lane, Globalization and Politics: Promises and Dangers, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2006.
  2. James, Paul; van Seeters, Paul (2014). Globalization and Politics, Vol. 2: Global Social Movements and Global Civil Society. London: Sage Publications.
  3. James, Paul (2014). Globalization and Politics, Vol. 4: Political Philosophies of the Global. London: Sage Publications. pp. x.
  4. Matthew Horsman and Andrew Marshall, After the Nation-State, London, Harper Collins, 1995
  5. James, Paul; Soguk, Nevzat (2014). Globalization and Politics, Vol. 1: Global Political and Legal Governance. London: Sage Publications. p. xlii.; AG McGrew and PG Lewis, Global Politics, Cambridge, Polity Press, 1992

Further reading

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