Today’s federal societies are going through a period of rapid and significant transformation.
The phenomena of political modernization have contributed to changing not only the internal institutional architecture of federal states, but also to redefining their behaviour in the international field. This is evidenced by the direction of new dip- lomatic, military and financial strategies by the most well known and powerful federations.
The processes of globalization are also exerting formidable tensions on every consolidated configuration of federations’ internal borders as well as between the regional and national identities and cultures that coexist within them. The internal instability of many multinational and multi-ethnic federations manifests itself, for example, in the continuous formation of new popular movements and in the appearance of new expressions of political, cultural and linguistic opposition. These centrifugal impulses are countered by cases of social homologation and the strengthening of a common identity which are certainly favoured by the growing economic and technological inter- dependence that defines the global age.
These tendencies moving towards the strengthening of political unity extend beyond the borders of existing federal states to include the sphere of international relations where there is no lack of new integration experiments of federal form on a regional and continental scale. Although their prospects of future success are questioned by many observers, the European Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other supranational confed- eral systems are increasingly becoming alternative institutional models for the classic nation state. These integration processes indicate uncertain and contradictory characteristics which are linked to other fundamental problems of political modernity such as the increase in inequalities between countries, the presence of democratic deficit in vari- ous levels of government and the inability of central institutions to find a solution to common political challenges.
Understanding these dynamics seems to require analysis and an extended reflection on the relationship be- tween globalization and federalism aimed at identifying empirical peculiarities or developing multidisciplinary theo- retical models that are innovative and of vast scientific scope.