Transboundary Politics

  • Jason Beckfield
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)

This chapter reviews contemporary research on the causes and consequences of politics and polities that cross national boundaries. The study of “globalization” exploded in the social sciences in the 1990s (Hargittai and Centeno 2001; Fiss and Hirsch 2005), and the rapid expansion of this emergent field continues as of this writing. Indeed, the pace of growth presents challenges to researchers interested in the political dimension of “globalization,” not only because of the discipline-crossing quality of the emerging field, but also because of a general lack of conceptual clarity and consensus in the literature (see the recent reviews by Brady et al. [2007] and Guillén [2001]). The analysis of globalization stands at what can be characterized as a basic conceptual and descriptive stage: if there is a kernel of truth in the intuition that something political is going on at a level above, between, or among nation states, how is it to be understood? Which of the concepts “transboundary,” “transnational,” “international,” “non-national,” “post-national,” “de-nationalizing,” “globalizing,” and “regionalizing,” are most helpful, why, and how would we know? With the goal of providing a framework for this sprawling literature, I argue that network theory and analysis offer useful ways of thinking about what has been characterized as globalization, as well as fruitful techniques for identifying its causes and effects.


European Union Welfare State World Trade Organization European Union Member State Intergovernmental Organization 



I am grateful to Craig Jenkins and Kevin Leicht for helpful comments and conversations.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason Beckfield
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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