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Rethinking World Politics is a major intervention into a central debate in international relations: how has globalization transformed world politics? Most work on world politics still presumes the following: in domestic affairs, individual states function as essentially unified entities, and in international affairs, stable nation-states interact with each other. In this scholarship, the state lies at the center; it is what politics is all about. However, Philip Cerny contends that recent experience suggests another process at work: "transnational neopluralism." In the old version of pluralist theory, the state is less a cohesive and unified entity than a varyingly stable amalgam of competing and cross-cutting interest groups that surround and populate it. Cerny explains that contemporary world politics is subject to similar pressures from a wide variety of sub- and supra-national actors, many of which are organized transnationally rather than nationally. In recent years, the ability of transnational governance bodies, NGOs, and transnational firms to shape world politics has steadily grown.
Importantly, the rapidly growing transnational linkages among groups and the emergence of increasingly influential, even powerful, cross-border interest and value groups is new. These processes are not replacing nation-states, but they are forging new transnational webs of power. States, he argues, are themselves increasingly trapped in these webs. After mapping out the dynamics behind contemporary world politics, Cerny closes by prognosticating where this might all lead. Sweeping in its scope, Rethinking World Politics is a landmark work of international relations theory that upends much of our received wisdom about how world politics works and offers us new ways to think about the forces shaping the contemporary world.
Philip G. Cerny is Professor of Global Political Economy in the Department of Politics and International Studies and the Division of Global Affairs, Rutgers University-Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A., and Professor Emeritus of Government at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. He studied at Kenyon College (Ohio) and the Institut d'Etudes Politiques (Paris), and received his Ph.D. from the University of Manchester in 1976. He has taught at
the Universities of York, Leeds and Manchester in the U.K., and has been a visiting scholar or professor at Harvard University, the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques (Paris), Dartmouth College, New York University, the Brookings Institution, and the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (Cologne). He is
a former chair of the International Political Economy Section of the International Studies Association and has been a member of the executive committees of the British International Studies Association and the Political Studies
Association of the United Kingdom. He has written extensively on political theories of the state and globalization.