Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 1996

Publication Citation

4 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 7 (1996)


Economic globalization has reconfigured fundamental properties of the

nation-state, notably territoriality and sovereignty. There is an incipient

unbundling of the exclusive territoriality we have lcing associated with the

nation-state. The most strategic instantiation of this unbundling is probably

the global city, which operates as a partly denationalized plaform for global

capital. Sovereignty is being unbundled by these economic and other noneconomic

practices and new legal regimes. At the limit this means that the

State is no longer the only site for sovereignty and the normativity that comes

with it, and further, that the State is no longer the exclusive subject for

international law. Other actors, from NGOs and minority populations to

supranational organizations are increasingly emerging as subjects of

international law and actors in international relations.

Developing a feminist analytics of the global economy today will require

us to factor in these transformations if we are to go beyond a mere updating

ofthe economic conditions of women and men in different countries. Much of

the feminist scholarship on women and the economy and women and the law

has taken the nation-state as a given or as the context within which to examine

the issues at hand. And this is a major and necessary contribution. But now,

in view of the distinct impacts that globalization is having on the systemic

propertieso f the State--i.e., exclusive territorialitya nd sovereignty--it becomes

important to subject these to critical examination.

The purpose here is to contribute to a feminist analytics that allows us to

re-read and reconceptualize major features of today's global economy in a

manner that captures strategic instantiations of gendering, and formal and

operational openings that make women visible and can lead to greater

presence in representation and participation. My effort, then, is to expand the

analytic terrain within which we need to understand the global economy, to

render visible what is now evicted from the account.

Here I specify two strategic research sites for an examination of the

organizing dynamics of globalization and begin examining how gendering

operates in order to develop a feminist reading. These two sites are derived

from two major properties of the modern State, exclusive territoriality and

sovereignty, and their unbundling under the impact of globalization. In the

first section I discuss what I see as the strategic instantiations of gendering in

the global economy. In the second and third sections, I focus on the

unbundling of State territoriality through one very specific strategic research

site, the global city, and try to lay out the implications for empirical and

theoretical work on the question of women in the global economy. In the

fourth section, I examine the unbundling of sovereignty in an age of

globalization to understand the implications for the emergence of other actors

in international relations and subjects of international law. While in many

ways each of these represent distinct research and theorization efforts encased

in very separate bodies of scholarship, both focus on crucial aspects of the

broader process of globalization and its impact on the organization of the

economy and of political power which we need to factor into a feminist

analytics of the global economy.