The limitations of the Transnationalised State thesis in neo-Gramscian IR: the grounds for a Strategic-Relational Approach

Marco Antonio de Meneses Silva
2010 Universitas: Relações Internacionais  
This article addresses recent critical literature in International Relations, on the transnationalisation of the state. It identifies a trend within neo-Gramscian thinking on the matter that awards excessive credence to the agential nature of hegemony with regards to the transnational state, class formation and alliances. In order to correct the imbalance implicit in the inherent instrumentalism of such accounts, a dialectical approach is suggested. This entails re-examining the Gramscian
more » ... the Gramscian notion of the historic bloc on the one hand, and the employment of the Strategic-Relational Approach (SRA) of Jessop on the other. As a consequence, both challenge the phenomena of transnationalisation, indicating the need for alternative conceptualisations in the debates on the state, globalisation, and hegemony. The article finds that structural readings of the historic bloc, and the SRA initiatives reveal the limitations of the current literature in conventional neo-Gramscian thinking, in addition to the need for further developing readings on the state and hegemony. contend that the bias towards agency might well be balanced by engaging with analyses that award greater emphases on structures. Here, structures are understood as the amalgam of social and material forces, the latter in relation to production. There is a relatively static nature to the material forces of production, which deems them the least variable elements in historical development. The elementality of the superstructure challenges the organic limits imposed by the action of the superstructure. The notion of a transnationalised state arguably neglects theorising over capitalism and the state that has occurred for some time. We are left with the impression that many authors working within neo-Gramscian International Relations have attempted to further the application of concepts such as that of hegemony with little regard to previous debates on capitalism and the state. I do not intend to deny the power
doi:10.5102/uri.v8i1.1246 fatcat:vj3aqh4n3vhxzd6p7edyqj6qya