In the second half of the twentieth century, the territorial state was clearly the dominant form of organization on the globe. All states, including former imperial powers, former colonies and those never engaged in the imperial adventure, adopted the broad outlines of the state as it had developed in Western Europe. Even the communist states shared many of the forms of the Western liberal democratic state. But from the last decades of the twentieth century, the nature of the ongoing process of globalization changed. Instead of being associated with the territorial state, it became deterritorialized, and thereby came to be seen by many to threaten the state’s very existence (e.g. Harvey 1989; Giddens 1990; Waters 1995). Just when it had appeared to become dominant, the state was seen to be under mortal threat. This chapter evaluates how real such fears are. The nature of that challenge and its severity are surveyed, before the chapter argues that fundamental to the state’s ability to continue to play a leading role is the nature of its interdependence with society, both domestic and international. This is discussed in terms of governance.
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