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  In theories of the state the subject matter is usually treated in the singular. Hence we have reasonable understandings of stateness. However, the modern state is not an isolated state; it has a multiple existence but this has been relatively neglected in state theory. Hence we have a rather limited understanding of interstateness. The problem has been an intellectual division of labour between social scientists who study the state and its civil society and international relations writers who treat their realm as a sphere of anarchy which is resistant to any theoretical understanding: simple balance of power models is about as far as they go. In geography this simple treatment of interstateness is represented by uncritical geopolitics.

The existence of all modern states is premised on their sovereignty. This includes their control over a designated territory (internal sovereignty) and the recognition of the legitimacy of that control by other states (external sovereignty). The latter defines a state of mutuality among states. It is such reciprocity which underpins interstateness. This can be defined as the plural condition of modern states and its general acceptance as a means of organizing politics. This is so embedded in modern ways of thinking that it is usually taken for granted, which is why it has remained unproblematized for so long (but see critical geopolitics). Interstateness is associated with internationality and interterritoriality, all three of which define an exhaustive multiplicity of states, nations and territories across the world (Taylor, 1995).

The concept of interstateness is fundamental to defining the historicity of modern states. The development of interstateness culminating in recognition of there being international law at the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, defines an origin to modern politics (Taylor, 1996a, 1996b). It follows that the demise of modern politics may be detected through the diminishing of interstateness in the growth of new trans-state politics (Taylor, 1995; Risse-Kappen, 1995). (PJT)

References Risse-Kappen, T. 1995: Bringing transnational relations back in. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Taylor, P.J. 1995: Beyond containers: internationality, interstateness, interterritoriality. Progress in Human Geography 19: 1-15. Taylor, P.J. 1996a: The Way The Modern World Works. London: Wiley. Taylor, P.J. 1996b: The modern multiplicity of states. In E. Kofman and G. Youngs, ed., Globalization: theory and practice. London: Pinter.



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