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The competition state today: from raison d'Etat to raison du Monde

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In a globalising world, states are undergoing a fundamental transformation in their underlying rationality, what Foucault has called 'governmentality'. Raison d'Etat is being superseded by a transnationalising, globalising rationality that I call raison du Monde, at the core of which is the imperative of maintaining and promoting competitiveness in a world marketplace and multi-level political system - the Competition State. The state still has a major national yet paradoxical role to play - to expose the domestic to the transnational in order to ensure that citizens keep up with the multiple pressures and demands of that increasingly interpenetrated political, economic and social ecosystem. The foreign or external is thereby being internalised. In this process the state is becoming increasingly pluralistic, although, to be viable and effective groups must widen and deepen their transnational connections. There is thus an ongoing struggle between those groups that can capture the benefits of globalisation by transnationalising their activities, networks, strategies and tactics - the 'winners' - and those who bear the brunt of the downside of globalisation in terms of unemployment, reduced incomes, limited opportunities, political repression, civil strife, and so on - the 'losers'. The Competition State is an evolving terrain of conflict between these groups and between raison d'Etat and the growing hegemony of raison du Monde.
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Keywords: Competition State; Foucault; globalisation; governmentality; neoliberalism; networks; transnationalisation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Political Science, Division of Global Affairs, Rutgers University - Newark, Newark, NJ, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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