Introduction

By Rivarola, Andrés; Zurbriggen, Cristina | Ibero-americana, January 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

Introduction


Rivarola, Andrés, Zurbriggen, Cristina, Ibero-americana


This issue of Iberoamericana focuses on the remarkable transformation of the global order that has taken place since the end of the Cold War, a period when the "Globalization" concept has become a common buzzword. Although many were, and still are, skeptical about its use as an analytical concept there is growing evidence regarding deep changes at macro and micro levels, both in relation to global economic, political and social structures, as well as concerning regional, national or sub-national levels. Scholars are even talking about an increasing intertwinement of levels, which are regarded as "nested" into each other, something that conditions new kind of flows leading to a deterritorialization of space as well as putting into question traditional Westphalian notions of Nation-state and Nation. Without doubt, we are speaking of phenomena that have opened the door for new kind of questions, to which there are still few answers. Notwithstanding many ways of interpreting the significance and scope of such phenomena, our point of departure is that these transformations have an impact on the role of the State.

There is an emergent order that is rooted in contradictions and ambiguities that create new kind of dilemmas. For example, at the same time that the position of states appears to be losing strength, there appears to be a growing pressure on states to solve problems. This increasingly requires concerted actions among states that, in turn, threaten Westphalian principles of national sovereignty. An example of this can be seen in the conflicts between the need to create free trade areas (through global or regional agreements) and different interests at national level. But the issue goes beyond trade, and we also find conflicts related to environmental or human right conventions. Moreover, for Latin America, as for other parts of the world, Globalization has also implied an explosion in complexity and uncertainty that demands a response from states. Some of the major questions asked here are therefore related to the manner Latin American states adapt to the new global structures and deal with the complicated relation between nation-state and supranationality. Is there a Latin American way? How capable are the Latin American states of facing the complex requirements demanded by globalization and integration? With all this in mind, we see that systemic changes are more and more leading the challenge of posing a vision of the "State in the World" and "the World in the State". The theme is vast and we content ourselves with merely opening the floor to different points of view that correspond to the three different sections where the articles of this issue will be set. The first section relates to a broader analysis of the issue "Nation-states and Globalization in Latin America." The second one, "New Forms of Governance", includes in depth studies analyzing how new sources of authority are being expressed in different Latin American countries. The third section, finally, summarizes articles with a focus on the development of "Public Policies and Capacity Building". We turn below to a more thorough explanation about each part and a brief presentation of the different contributions.

I. NATION-STATES AND GLOBALIZATION IN LATIN AMERICA

This topic addresses the extent of changes in the Latin American notion of nation-state that can be attributed to the impact of the globalization process. As it is generally known, this notion has been associated with 'nationalism' and "capitalism". In the latter, as we see it, the globalization process has brought about new economic patterns which seriously undermine the possibility of single states to confront markets, something that in turn impacts on social organization. As for the former, "nationalism", the very idea of "nation" has been under scrutiny due to the strengthening of new kinds of social movements where ethnicity and identity have become major sub-national, international and trans-national issues. …

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