Sample Article Review on World Society and the Nation-State

In their article, World Society and the Nation-State, Meyer, Boli, Thomas and Ramirez argue that culturally, a state’s cultural orientation is not a function of its historical or political nature but a derivative of the state’s interaction with and belonging to the wider society of states. Through rigorous associational processes, that override rigid nation-state conceptual features like sovereignty and nationalism, nation-states interact with the broader society of states, which presents the nation-states with new cultural orientations (Meyer et al. 3). The authors of this article argue that while it is true that states have their own domestic, unique cultural bedrocks, these become immaterial as states, by reacting to dynamism and changes in the society of states, adopt a global culture.

I agree with the authors that states’ cultures are a product of the influence of the collective state-system culture because states cannot operate or exist in isolation but within the larger framework of the state system. Moreover, the creation of the states implies that any new state created must conform to some internationally accepted cultures and norms like international law, regard for human rights, recognition of international organizations like the United Nations.

Moreover, my thinking is that world culture is the collective whole of all state cultures and that the idea of cultural statelessness exists, but only alongside states’ internal cultural specificities and uniqueness through cultural interdependence and connectedness. This means that states can have both the international state system culture while at the same time having and appreciating their own individual cultures. An example of this is a state that conforms to international respect for human rights but locally, they practice segregation based on gender because the state is governed using religious laws. This does not mean that such states lack culture but that they apply both international as well as their domestic cultures.


Work Cited

Meyer, John, et al. “World Society and the Nation-State”. American Journal of Sociology 103(1), (1997), pp. 144-181.