Philip G. Cerny


On his book Rethinking World Politics: A Theory of Transnational Neopluralism

Cover Interview of October 16, 2011


Transnational neopluralism, I believe, captures the way these three possible scenarios or alternative equilibria interact in practice. Alain Minc, the French intellectual, in Le nouveau moyen age (1993), argues that the Middle Ages themselves were not a period of simple crisis, conflict, and breakdown, but one of “durable disorder.”  This disorder was also creative, leading to the emergence of the very social forces that gave birth to the Renaissance and eventually to modern capitalism and even democracy.

Rethinking World Politics is therefore an attempt to show that although globalization and its consequences may be messy and disordered at some levels, there is a whole universe of actors out there who potentially can play a role in shaping that order. It’s just that we are still in the early stages of the process.

Can the sorts of groups that are developing crucial transnational linkages—both sectional and value groups, and with much in between—forge a better world? In a talk last year to graduating students at Rutgers-Newark, I told them that the future was in their hands.  I hope this book can inspire as well as analyze, even if the pathways are still convoluted and not easy to discern.