Towards an International Theory of State—Non-state Actors: A Grid—Group Cultural Approach



During the 1980s, non-state, private actors, such as multinational corporations and international banks, disappeared from studies in International Political Economy (IPE), while most attention was focused on the state. The re-emergence of the state as an autonomous, influential actor worthy of theoretical attention was in response to a period of scholarship when, to quote Stephen Krasner, ‘students of international relations & multi-nationalized, transnationalized, bureaucratized, and transgovernmentalized the state until it [had] virtually ceased to exist as an analytic construct.’2 By the mid-1980s the pendulum had swung back in favour of a state-centric approach; today this perspective is again under assault as scholars attempt to gain a greater understanding of the domestic/international nexus. This study challenges the primacy of the state as an analytical construct. The theory advanced here reintroduces the ‘revolutionary’ potential identified by Richard Leaver in the opening quotation in the early work of IPE, including non-state actors and ‘the possibility of inquiring into the triadic relationship between the form of the state, the structure of the society over which it exercised its theoretical sovereignty, and the patterns of international behaviour that were generated in the interaction of these state-society complexes.’3


Private Actor Political Authority Cultural Theory World Politics Comparative Politics 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

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