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Tesi etd-06272013-150726

Thesis type
Tesi di dottorato di ricerca
email address
Disintegration as Hope : An Insight into the Scaling Down of States in the Post-Cold War World
Settore scientifico disciplinare
Corso di studi
tutor Ferguson, R. Brian
tutor Theiler, Tobias
tutor Gori, Umberto
commissario Landuyt, Ariane
commissario Carcangiu, Bianca Maria
commissario Francioni, Andrea
commissario Prof. Vernassa, Maurizio
Parole chiave
  • princely state
  • princely citizenry
  • prince
  • party-state
  • partition
  • Pakistan
  • Pakhtunkhwa
  • netizen
  • liberation movement
  • Leopold Kohr
  • Karl Deutsch
  • independence
  • hope
  • Flanders
  • federalism
  • downsizing
  • Don Lorenzo Milani
  • disintegration
  • devolution
  • Charles Tilly
  • Catalonia
  • breakup
  • Bacha Khan
  • Azawad
  • Alexander Wendt
  • Afghanistan
  • Aceh
  • Quebec
  • scaling down
  • Scotland
  • secession
  • separation
  • social awareness
  • social mobilization
  • Tom Nairn
  • Zanzibar
Data inizio appello
Riassunto analitico
This research theorizes an ongoing, global, grand trend of geopolitical disintegration, in the Post-Cold War, and increasingly in post-1989 time. The proposed paradigm may be useful to analyze redistribution of internal power within every state, from developed old Western powers, to new developed powers as China and India, well beyond the dissolved former real-socialist countries and the so-called failing states. The focus is on not empirical description of each local request of more autonomy, self-government, or even independence, but on the reached limits of the centuries-long and planet-wide integration process, from which the modern states and contemporary world have arisen, and that has now left room to a time of disintegration.
This insight draws on a wide range of positions and contributions from International Relations theorists, along with other political scientists and scholars of geopolitics, anthropologists and sociologists, political geographers and economists, historians of colonialism and nationalism, experts of secession, critics of globalization and postmodern intellectuals, federalists and anarchists.

The first of the three parts of this study, is dedicated to an historical insight about the geopolitical integration process that had westernized and globalized the entire world. War, the state and expansionism, were not an inevitable destiny. Instead, a very small group of modern states, in competition and imitation amongst themselves, started a particularly steady conquering march on the planet. Their power expanded in intensity and extension for centuries and, with and because of the Industrial Revolution, culminated in totalitarian states and in total wars.

* *
The second part treats the social and national movements that have led to the end, in 1989, of the bipolar paramountcy of the two industrial superpowers, United States and Soviet Union. Along with the dissolution of blocs and states, a steady decreasing of states wars, crimes and violences, is registered and explained in the study.
A slippery use of the word and concept of nationalism, particularly in post-1989 geopolitical crises, is frontally attacked in this part, drawing from early works of Ernest Gellner and Tom Nairn. Under the umbrella term of nationalism, integrationist projects and their victims, colonizers and colonized, oppressors and resistants, are likely to be confused.
An early intuition of Karl Deutsch about the social awareness and mobilization of people in post-totalitarian, post-industrial and post-colonial societies, is here crossed with the work about coercion, capital, inclusion and consent of Charles Tilly. Masses, once enslaved in industrialized obedience, have evolved in networks of active citizens – and netizens – able, in a less violent international system, to claim for more personal liberties but also, as communities, for social, economical, and geopolitical change.
A theoretical conjecture is also presented in this second part: in the Post-Cold War, no old or new powers will be able to keep enough concentration of power, in order to compete for world domination. We have entered a permissive state of disintegration. Redistribution of power from center to peripheries, empowerment of federal units, multiplication of small states, may occur, from now on, because there is nobody and nothing capable of preventing it. From this geopolitical point of view, the 1989 is at the very beginning. While sharing certain premises of a well-known thoughtful article by Alexander Wendt, on the inevitability of a world state (2003), this work reaches a different conclusion.

* * *
In the third and last part, the scope and the nature of the break in the sameness of international life is explored, with normative purposes. History is not repeating, and integration prejudices along with integrationist projects should be overcome. Every state may substantially devolve powers to its internal authorities, or even breakup, and many new smaller states, or self-governing units within states, might come out.
In this increasing number of polities, an overwhelming number of citizens may go well beyond electoral democracy and have direct access to power. They may coalesce around what Brian Ferguson defined an «identerest» complex: constructed identities and tangible interests, inextricably intertwined. Citizens and netizens demanding power on their own territories and disintegration of their states, are required to take care of citizenry's duties, not only citizenship's rights. A model of responsible, moderate, pragmatic, «princely citizenry», echoing Machiavelli and Gramsci, is here proposed.

Acquisitions of this study are bluntly offered as a contribution to political action in a time of geopolitical change, in which it would be important to rely on expertise, but also on compassion, and on a real interest in the historical and geographical, spiritual and material pathways that each local, concrete human community is pursuing. Western-led state-building hubris, for instance, should be put aside in Afghanistan and many other corners of the world, it is recommend by this study. In favor of bottom-up cantonization, for example, an ancient Swiss wisdom which would deserve more consideration in a changing world.
While burdened by the contradictions of modernity and menaced by recurrent economical and ecological crises, local princely citizenries, demanding sovereignty in their place of dwelling, are probably the main and the best possible challengers to the status quo. Concentrating on their territory and population, they may change their everyday reality, overcoming political corruption, bureaucratic impotence, economical inequality, ecological destruction.
It may reveal be easier to scale down, rather than tear down, the pyramids of oppression. Leopold Kohr, Ivan Illich and don Lorenzo Milani's prophecies of justice and peace in geopolitical smallness, may become inspiring visions, in a time of disintegration.