The collapse of the state-socialist systems in Eastern Europe and the
much discussed rise of the so-called ‘new economy’ have compelled
scholars and thinkers to address developments of arguably world-historical
significance. In particular, they have had to reflect on the
impact on global society of what appears to be a new, globalised economic
system characterised, among other things, by the unrivalled
hegemony of capitalism, the consolidation of liberal-democracy in
the advanced economies and the claimed demise of the nation-state.
These developments have had implications for culture and for intellectual
life, for education and for labour markets, and for public policy.
They have forced us to revisit the role of the state and to reflect,
anew, on the manner in which we describe and analyse the attendant
societal phenomena. They invite us, too, to ask once again whether –
and if so what – alternative, more desirable, institutional arrangements
might be envisaged. The contributions to this issue of Theoria
address, in diverse ways, these and related questions.