Networked Statehood: An Institutionalised Self-Contradiction in the Process of Globalisation?
Forthcoming in: Transnational Legal Theory, Vol. 12.
42 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2020 Last revised: 16 Mar 2021
Date Written: November 5, 2020
World economy and world science have not yet found a counterpart in a world state and probably never will. However, the contours of a global political system have emerged, which fulfils the functions of statehood at the global level Such systems does not take the form of a uniform corporative-hierarchical collectivity but of a “networked statehood”, i.e. a network of individual states, international organisations and transnational regimes. Relying on social science and legal constructions, this article defines such a concept positively in its components (II.1) and negatively in its difference from other global institutions (II.2). On this basis, two fundamental self-contradictions are analysed: on the one hand, the contradiction between the autonomy of the network nodes and the autonomy of the network as a collectivity in its own right (III.1); on the other hand, the contradictions of various rationalities in the polycontexturality of the network nodes (III.2). The problems of network failure resulting from these contradictions are highlighted (III.3). Despite these contradictions, networking provides considerable advantages for state action: the potentially productive transformation of the contradictions into mere internal tensions (IV.1); opportunities of transversality (IV.2); new relationships between dynamics and resilience (IV.3); iterativity as a new temporalised form of collective decision-making (IV.4). General principles of a future law of networked statehood are then outlined. Such principles build on the fact that the network as a new legal form of action is introduced next to other international institutions (V.1). The future law of networked statehood will then be presented using three legal institutions as examples: loyalty obligations, conflict rules for internal norm-collisions (V.2), and network liability for negative externalities (V.3). Finally, an outlook is given on how networked statehood institutions could deal with the problem of their democratic legitimacy (VI).
Keywords: transnational networks, statehood, globalisation, systems theory, international organisations, transnational regimes
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation