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Introduction to Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages

In: Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages


  • Saskia Sassen

    (Columbia University, London School of Economics and Political Science)


Where does the nation-state end and globalization begin? In Territory, Authority, Rights , one of the world's leading authorities on globalization shows how the national state made today's global era possible. Saskia Sassen argues that even while globalization is best understood as "denationalization," it continues to be shaped, channeled, and enabled by institutions and networks originally developed with nations in mind, such as the rule of law and respect for private authority. This process of state making produced some of the capabilities enabling the global era. The difference is that these capabilities have become part of new organizing logics: actors other than nation-states deploy them for new purposes. Sassen builds her case by examining how three components of any society in any age--territory, authority, and rights--have changed in themselves and in their interrelationships across three major historical "assemblages": the medieval, the national, and the global. The book consists of three parts. The first, "Assembling the National," traces the emergence of territoriality in the Middle Ages and considers monarchical divinity as a precursor to sovereign secular authority. The second part, "Disassembling the National," analyzes economic, legal, technological, and political conditions and projects that are shaping new organizing logics. The third part, "Assemblages of a Global Digital Age," examines particular intersections of the new digital technologies with territory, authority, and rights. Sweeping in scope, rich in detail, and highly readable, Territory, Authority, Rights is a definitive new statement on globalization that will resonate throughout the social sciences.

Suggested Citation

  • Saskia Sassen, 2008. "Introduction to Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages," Introductory Chapters,in: Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages Princeton University Press.
  • Handle: RePEc:pup:chapts:8159-1

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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Amelina & Andreas Vasilache, 2014. "Editorial: The shadows of enlargement: Theorising mobility and inequality in a changing Europe," Migration Letters, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 11(2), pages 109-124, May.
    2. Bach Jonathan & Solomon M. Scott, 2008. "Labors of Globalization: Emergent State Responses," New Global Studies, De Gruyter, vol. 2(2), pages 1-21, June.
    3. Risse, Mathias, 2009. "Immigration, Ethics and the Capabilities Approach," MPRA Paper 19218, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Dorte Jagetić Andersen, 2014. "Do if you Dare: Reflections on (Un)familiarity, Identity-Formation and Ontological Politics," Journal of Borderlands Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(3), pages 327-337, September.
    5. Allen J. Scott & Michael Storper, 2015. "The Nature of Cities: The Scope and Limits of Urban Theory," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(1), pages 1-15, January.
    6. Julian Germann, 2014. "State-led or Capital-driven? The Fall of Bretton Woods and the German Currency Float Reconsidered," New Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(5), pages 769-789, September.
    7. Saskia Sassen, 2009. "When Local Housing Becomes an Electronic Instrument: The Global Circulation of Mortgages - A Research Note," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(2), pages 411-426, June.


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