Statesmanship beyond the modern state

P. Overeem, F.E. Bakker

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The concept and ideal of statesmanship have been handed down to us from ancient to modern times, but it has a paradoxical relationship with the modern state. While terminology suggests that statesmanship presupposes the state, in fact it appears rather incongruent with modern (i.e., constitutional, democratic, and bureaucratic) statehood. Nonetheless, statesmanship continues to be promoted and new understandings, such as judicial and administrative statesmanship, have been proposed. Some hope, moreover, that statesmanship becomes more feasible again as we transfer from state government to multilevel governance. There are problems, however, with conceiving of statesmanship, either in its original or in its newer meanings, under these new conditions. Despite the enduring appeal of statesmanship, the changing role of the state in present-day governance does not mean that this ideal can be easily regained.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-55
JournalPerspectives on Political Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2019


  • statesmanship
  • state
  • democracy
  • virtue


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