Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Statecraft in the Global Financial Crisis: An Interview with Kanishka Jayasuriya

By: Jeb Sprague
Journal of Critical Globalisation Studies

Kanishka Jayasuriya

Kanishka Jayasuriya, Professor of Political Science at the University of Adelaide, Australia and author of two monographs – Reconstituting the Global Liberal Order: Legitimacy and Regulation (2005) and Statecraft, Welfare and the Politics of Inclusion (2006) – argues that changing forms of governance and new regulative laws are enabling the transnationalization of institutions within national states. He also interprets these changes as giving rise to a new type of institutional struggle unique to globalisation. For social scientists in general and political economists in particular, Jayasuriya’s work provides a useful lens through which to understand intra-state transformation in the global epoch. By rejecting Realist/Weberian conceptions of the state and drawing inspiration instead from materialist state theory, he understands state transformation as a reflection of ongoing processes linked to socio-economic forces that are novel to the historical present. And in the wake of the global financial crisis, he argues, we should not see the state as either disappearing or returning, for it is continuing to transform in ways peculiar to the age of globalism. The real question is for whom states will act in the future. In order to answer this, Jayasuriya suggests that we must look to transformations occurring within the national state, for it is these that are changing statecraft as we know it.

In this interview, Jayasuriya discusses some of his main concepts and theories, such as the regulatory state; meta-governance; the transition from ‘social constitutionalism’ to ‘economic constitutionalism’; and describes how each of these relate to the ongoing crisis of global capitalism. He clarifies his views on the idea of a transnational capitalist class, arguing that there must be “different fractions within it”; and goes on to discuss the connection of his theories on state-transformation with the related works of William Robinson and Martin Shaw. Finally, he discusses some of the theorists that have influenced his work – such as Nicos Poulantzas, Carl Schmitt, Franz Neumann, and Amartya Sen – and briefly describes his areas of ongoing research.