Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages

The former director of the London School of Economics, Anthony Giddens,
was fond of saying that there were two dull things to say about globalisation: the
first that it meant everything, the second that it meant nothing. Saskia Sassen
seems to agree. Her new book, Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to
Global Assemblages, sets out to dispel the myths peddled by both sides of the
increasingly fractious globalisation industry: that globalisation is a process which
has torn asunder the very foundations of modernity, or that the term is no more
than a mirage, smokescreen or chimera which has done little to disturb the rise
and rise of the nation state. As with any attempt to produce a via media between
two seemingly diametrically opposed and passionately held positions, Sassen is
forced to navigate this terrain with great care. The result is a book which defies
easy summary, something much to its credit. There is a great deal of guff spouted
about globalisation, and Sassen cuts through the blather with due diligence and
considerable erudition. This is a big topic and Sassen has produced a big book –
both in size and in stature.

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