cooperation,or some other form ofindirectcontrol.
In either case,the subordinate soci-ety is coerced,but the means by which suchcontrol is maintained may vary.Certainly,asmany studies ofimperial history conclude,formal and informal imperial strategies arenot an opposing pair ofstrategies.Whenpursued simultaneously in different con-texts,they can be mutually reinforcing.Ifcontemporary globalization representsa kind ofempire,then it must be an infor-mal empire,since direct imperial control isabsent in most ofthe world.But the idea of informal empire—however intuitive andapt it may seem—is empty unless the mech-anism ofinformal control can be identiﬁed.Part ofthe problem is conceptual.To eachidea ofempire is necessarily tied a model of the power underlying the control ofthesubordinate society.Formal dominationassumes a Weberian model ofpower,oper-ating as the command ofa political superiorand backed up by outright force.
In certainregions ofthe world,this kind ofanalysiswill seem more plausible than in others.Asan account ofglobalization,however,it willfall short,failing to offer insight into the eco-nomic,cultural,and institutional aspects of globalization that are often the most inter-esting.Analyses ofglobalization as empirethat aim to address more than military forceand outright occupation will necessarily confront the problems in theorizing powerthat does not resemble the command ofapolitical superior.
In fact,any plausiblecharacterization ofglobalization as empiremust rely upon heterodox understandingsofpower.
To develop an adequate account ofthepower underlying globalization,we mustexplain how the collective structures andprocesses with which globalization is promi-nently associated can at once be the prod-ucts ofchoice and the outcomes ofpower.Ina globalized world,certain practices,institu-tions,or cooperative regimes at the transna-tional level play a role in coordinating socialexchange and their coordination has aneffect upon those who participate in them.Philosophical studies ofcoordination gamesor social conventions can offer insights intothese processes ofglobalization,in whichthe coordination solutions and conventionsare scaled at the transnational level.
Consider any system ofcoordination,such as a language,measurement system,currency,or even a rendezvous point in acity,like the clock in the middle ofGrand
David Singh Grewal
The distinction between formal and informal empirewas developed in the mid-twentieth century historicalstudies ofthe British Empire.See,e.g.,John Gallagherand Ronald Robinson,“The Imperialism ofFreeTrade,”
Economic History Review
Weber is famously associated with the argument thatdomination takes the form ofa command by a politicalsuperior,the “authoritarian power ofcommand.”Herecognized other forms ofpower,however,and hisviews on the subject are more nuanced than is oftenrecognized.See Max Weber,
Economy and Society
,ed.Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich (Totowa,N.J.:Bed-minster Press,
The social theories ofAntonio Gramsci and MichelFoucault rely on such heterodox accounts ofpower.Michel Foucault,
Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviewsand Other Writings,
,ed.Colin Gordon (NewYork:Pantheon Books,
,ed.James Faubion (New York:New Press,
Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci
,ed.and trans.Quintin Hoare andGeoffrey Nowell Smith (New York:International Pub-lishers,
);and Joseph V.Femia,
Gramsci’s Political Thought: Hegemony,Consciousness,and the Revolution-ary Process
).See alsoSteven Lukes,
Power: A Radical View
For foundational works in the study ofcoordinationgames and the analytic philosophy ofconventions,seeThomas C.Schelling,
The Strategy ofConflict
(Cam-bridge:Harvard University Press,
Convention: A Philosophical Study
(Cambridge:Harvard University Press,