Third way and new liberalism : responding to globalisation at the domestic/international frontier
The self-identified intellectual currents known in Britain as New Liberalism and the Third Way can be seen as domestic political responses to two periods of 'globalisation' - understood here as a specific type of transformational change occasioned by simultaneous technological, economic, social and political shift. The resulting changes in perceptions of time, speed and distance alter political and popular understandings of relations between local, national and international, and between society, state and economy. It is also indicative of a shift in the development of the state; from the 'premodern' to the 'modern' in the first timeframe, and the 'modern' to a new stage that could be termed 'global' more recently. New Liberalism and the Third Way were both developed as elite-led, domestic, synthesising political philosophies in the face of an electoral threat brought about by societal change and external economic challenge. These examples suggest that the current globalisation debate is flawed as it treats as a single phenomenon different aspects of change and fails to recognise the implications of the similarities between these two periods. There is no suggestion that there are only two periods of change only that systemic change is qualitatively different. International Relations as an academic discipline is responding inadequately because of a reluctance to overcome the tendency to downplay links between domestic and international spheres and levels of state development. By comparing these specific periods of transformation and their political ideologies in the British context, this thesis will explore the relationship between international and domestic political ideology at times of such change and suggest that the result is a specific kind of transitional politics born of both innovation and necessity. Finally, while this kind of political engagement has been neglected by international relations, it may prove to be evidence of stages of development in the state.