Internationalisation and the nation-state: Four issues and three non-issues



Abstract. The significance of the nation-state in an era of globalisation and European integration remains the subject of competing conventional wisdoms: what some consider obvious is to others a myth. The issue is both explanatory and prescriptive: it is about the significance of state action for explaining outcomes as well as about the validity of arguments put forward in defence of the nation-state against the threat of internationalisation. From an explanatory point of view, attention needs to be devoted to the power of states relative to other actors, the autonomy of states in the sense of their possibilities for action, and the collective identity of states decisive for their viability. Since these are complex matters of degree, and since there is reason to expect variation between countries as well as policy areas, broad generalisation needs to be replaced with detailed empirical research. From a prescriptive point of view, there is a need for the detailed study of the relation between the nation-state, on the one hand, and psychological wellbeing, cultural pluralism, welfare policy, and democracy in various senses, on the other.