The Local, the National and the International: Diplomacy Transformation and SubState Responses A Study of State Coherence and Constituent Emancipation

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UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
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The objective of this working paper is to shed light on the interplay between the local, national, and international level. Thereby, it primarily focuses on paradiplomacy, designating the involvement of subnational governments in international relations. As will be shown subsequently, paradiplomacy indicates the state of societal coherence within a state. While it does not need to threaten the label of sovereignty, it can take over tasks like welfare provision and maintaining solidarity both locally and beyond. Generally, this thesis draws on an inquiry into the concepts of sovereignty, welfare and solidarity, assuming that they indicate a certain state of societal coherence, to then relate them to paradiplomacy theoretically and empirically. The empirical material stems from a series of semi-structured interviews with scholars and practitioners. Finally, this discussion leads to a re-imagination of the state and its capacities and tasks by questioning such concepts as “the nation-state” or “national interests”. It is meant to add rigor to the understanding of paradiplomacy as well as to add another angle to the criticism of state centrality in Internal Relations.