The Person, the Household, the Community, and the Globe: notes for a theory of multilateralism in a turbulent world

  • James N. Rosenau
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


By juxtaposing two photographs, both of recent origin but already widely heralded, it is possible to grasp metaphorically the central tension presently racking world affairs. One is a picture of the earth taken from the moon, a blue sphere seemingly suspended in timelessness and expressive of the large extent to which all humans are confined to the same limited space and thus bound by the same vulnerabilities. The other is an intrauterine photograph of a foetus, the beginning of a life set to evolve its own identity and to trace its own unique course. Put the pictures next to each other and you get a sense of how modern technologies have intensified pressures toward both globalisation and localisation, thus fostering centralising and decentralising dynamics that are simultaneously reinforcing and offsetting tendencies toward both large-scale coherence and narrow individualism.


Social Movement National Boundary World Politics International Regime World Affair 
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  1. 2.
    Compare Gary Goertz and Paul F. Diehl, Territorial Change and International Conflict ( New York: Routledge, 1992 ).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 22.
    Ronald Inglehart, Culture Shift in Advanced Industrial Society ( Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990 ).Google Scholar

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© The United Nations University 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • James N. Rosenau

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