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Genschel, Philipp and Zangl, Bernhard (2008): Transformations of the State. From Monopolist to Manager of Political Authority. In: TranState working papers, Vol. 76: pp. 1-27 [PDF, 589kB]


Since the second half of the twentieth century, the gradual nationalization of political authority that was typical for much of the State’s history since the seventeenth century has come to a standstill and given way to the denationalization of political authority. Non-state actors acquire political authority, thus giving rise to a complex network of political authorities, in which the State is only one authority among others. Yet, the denationalization of political authority remains fragmentary and incomplete. No non-state authority, be it an international institution, a private business or transnational organization, has the capacity to supplant the State. In fact, they all remain reliant on the State because only the State can provide the complementary resources that non-state actors lack to exercise political authority effectively and legitimately. For this reason, the State remains the key body of authority despite denationalization and the accretion of political authority by non-state entities. Its role has changed, however. The State no longer exercises authority always directly and exclusively through its own powers and resources, but more and more indirectly, by providing and complementing the powers and resources of non-state actors. The state remains the central authority but its role is transforming: once monopolist, the state is now becoming a manager of political authority.

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