The Passage West
Philosophy After the Age of the Nation State
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288 pages / August 2012 / 9781844678525
June 2014 / 9781844679386

The meaning of politics and philosophy after the era of the modern state

In this ambitious work, Giacomo Marramao proposes a radical reconceptualization of the world system in our era of declining state sovereignty. He argues that globalization cannot be reduced to mere economics or summarized by phrases such as ‘the end of history’ or the ‘westernization of the world’. Instead, we find ourselves embarking on a passage to a new, post-nation state age destined to transform all civilizations – and to disrupt Western geopolitical dominance. To confront the challenges of this interregnum one must think in terms of a new and radical universalism, a universalism of difference able to revitalize politics and to demythologize identity.

Building on the great interwar discussion between Spengler, Junger, Schmitt and Heidegger, Marramao’s new work engages with Habermas, Derrida and post-colonialism. Arguing against the classic Western pretension to universal norms of democracy and reason, he develops instead the idea of a ‘universal politics of difference’.


“Giacomo Marramao’s rare spirit of intellectual innovation has enlarged the thinking of his wide circle of admirers.”

“The work of Giacomo Marramao, in my opinion, is one of the most important contributions to the philosophical conversation today.”

“A remarkable book which makes a powerful and engaging contribution to contemporary debates on globalization and provides an original philosophical perspective for re-framing the question of the West.”

“A penetrating and incisive study of the economic, political, and ideological frameworks of our current global political landscape ... this intelligent investigation is a worthy inheritance to the ideological terrain it discusses and is a significant contribution to the field of contemporary political philosophy.”

“[Marramao] engages in a wide ranging philosophical discussion that engages with the concept of the global articulated by such figures as Spengler, Jünger, Schmitt, and Heidegger; explores debates between liberalism and communitarianism; proposes the concept of world-modernity as a successor to nation-modernity; considers the question of identity as the reference point for political conflict; and argues for the formulation of a universal politics of difference to replace the Western notion of universal norms.”

“Giacomo Marramao’s The Passage West is a whirlwind of a book, filled with provocative ideas and startling theoretical juxtapositions”

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