Game of Thrones: The Enduring Powers of Monarchy in a Post-Imperial Age


The paper considers an under-recognised paradox of the contemporary world: in a post-imperial age shaped by the agendas of modern nation-states and the demands of advanced capitalism, why has the political influence of monarchy remained and, in some instances, increased? Three arguments are presented in response to the question posed. Firstly, monarchies are indeed prevalent worldwide and in many contexts they are centrally important actors in the exercise of power. A brief survey and analysis of monarchies in international relations is offered. Secondly, the enduring power of monarchy as a type of power can be understood via five dynamics: ‘glocality’, ‘unity’, ‘pageantry’, ‘religion’ and ‘democracy’. Each dynamic is defined and analysed, drawing on historical themes and contemporary political examples. Third, the enduring powers of monarchy help to reconstitute a) an understanding of the sources of political power, b) the relation of tradition to modernity, and c) the emerging agendas of world affairs. The impact of each theme on the intersection between empire, faith and conflict is considered.


monarchy, international relations, sovereignty, religion, state, democracy, post-imperialism


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