Territory, Authority and Rights
Onde o Estado-nação acaba e a globalização começa? No livro “Territory, Authority and Rights”, a socióloga Saskia Sassien, uma das maiores autoridades mundiais sobre a globalização, mostra como hoje o fazer do Estado nacional é possível no contexto da era global. A autora argumenta que, mesmo quando a globalização é compreendida como “desnacionalização”, ela continua sendo moldada, canalizada e habilitada por instituições e redes originalmente desenvolvidas tendo as nações como mentoras, exemplos do Estado de direito e do respeito à autoridade privada.
Este processo do Estado produziu algumas das condições para o estabelecimento da era global. A diferença é que essas condições tornaram-se parte de novas lógicas organizacionais: outros atores que não são o Estado-nação precisam dele para implantar suas novas propostas. Sassen constrói seu caso examinando como três componentes de qualquer sociedade em qualquer idade - território, autoridade e direitos - mudaram em si mesmos e em suas inter-relações ao longo de três grandes períodos (assemblages) históricos: o medieval, o nacional o global.
O livro é composto de três partes. O primeiro, "Montagem do Nacional", traça o surgimento da territorialidade na Idade Média e considera a divindade monárquica como um precursor para a autoridade secular do soberano. A segunda parte, "Desmontagem do Nacional", analisa condições econômicas, legais, tecnológicas e políticas e projetos que estão moldando novas lógicas de organização. A terceira parte, "Assemblages de uma Era Global Digital", analisa cruzamentos específicos das novas tecnologias digitais com território, autoridade e direitos.
We are living through an epochal transformation, one as yet young but already showing its muscle. We have come to call this transformation globalization, and much attention has been paid to the emerging apparatus of global institutions and dynamics. Yet, if this transformation is indeed epochal, it has to engage the most complex institutional architecture we have ever produced: the national state. Global-level institutions and processes are currently relatively underdeveloped compared to the private and public domains of any reasonably functioning sovereign country. This engagement cannot be reduced, as is common, to the victimhood of national states at the hands of globalization. The national is still the realm where formalization and institutionalization have all reached their highest level of development, though they rarely reach the most enlightened forms we conceive of. Territory, law, economy, security, authority, and membership all have largely been constructed as national in most of the world, albeit rarely with the degree of autonomy posited in national law and international treaties. For today’s globalizing dynamics to have the transformative capacities they evince entails far deeper imbrications with the national—whether governments, firms, legal systems, or citizens—than prevailing analyses allow us to recognize.
The epochal transformation we call globalization is taking place inside the national to a far larger extent than is usually recognized. It is here that the most complex meanings of the global are being constituted, and the national is also often one of the key enablers and enactors of the emergent global scale. A good part of globalization consists of an enormous variety of micro-processes that begin to denationalize what had been constructed as national—whether policies, capital, political subjectivities, urban spaces, temporal frames, or any other of a variety of dynamics and domains. Sometimes these processes of denationalization allow, enable, or push the construction of new types of global scalings of dynamics and institutions; other times they continue to inhabit the realm of what is still largely national.
These are charged processes, even though they are partial and often highly specialized and obscure. They denationalize what had been constructed as national but do not necessarily make this evident. The institutional and subjective micro-transformations denationalization produces frequently continue to be experienced as national when they in fact entail a significant historical shift in the national. Such transformations often need to be decoded in order to become evident. These instantiations of the global, which are in good part structured inside the national, do not need to run through the supranational or international treaty system. Nor do they need to run through the new types of global domains that have emerged since the 1980s, such as electronic financial markets or global civil society. They include particular and specific components of a broad range of entities, such as the work of national legislatures and judiciaries, the worldwide operations of national firms and markets, political projects of nonstate actors, translocal processes that connect poor households across borders, diasporic networks, and changes in the relationship between citizens and the state. They are mostly particular and specific, not general. They reorient particular components of institutions and specific practices—both public and private—toward global logics and away from historically shaped national logics (including in the latter international operations, which are to be differentiated from current global ones). Understanding the epochal transformation we call globalization must include studying these processes of denationalization.
Much of the writing on globalization has failed to recognize these types of issues and has privileged outcomes that are self-evidently global. Global formations matter, and they are consequential. Yet even global regimes often only become operative, or performative, when they enter the national domain. This entry is predicated on—and in turn further strengthens—particular forms of denationalization. The encounter between national and denationalizing processes is not an innocent event; it has multiple and variable outcomes. There is a sort of invisible history of the many moments and ways in which denationalizing tendencies failed to materialize and succumbed to the powerful currents of the national, still alive and well. In other cases denationalizing processes feed nationalizing dynamics in separate though at times connected domains— for example, the denationalizing of certain components of our economy and the renationalizing in some components of our immigration policy. In brief, there is much more going on than meets the global eye—or than highly recognizable global scalings allow us to understand. The transformation we are living through is a complex architecture with many distinct working elements, only some of which can easily be coded as globalization.
Both self-evidently global and denationalizing dynamics destabilize existing meanings and systems. This raises questions about the future of crucial frameworks through which modern societies, economies, and polities (under the rule of law) have operated: the social contract of liberal states, social democracy as we have come to understand it, modern citizenship, and the formal mechanisms that render some claims legitimate and others illegitimate in liberal democracies. The future of these and other familiar frameworks is rendered dubious by the unbundling, even if very partial, of the basic organizational and normative architectures through which we have operated, especially over the last century. These architectures have held together complex interdependencies between rights and obligations, power and the law, wealth and poverty, allegiance and exit. I will emphasize both negative and positive potentials associated with this destabilizing of existing arrangements.
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