This contribution to the rapidly growing literature on globalization and global governance provides a distinct new theoretical perspective to the globalization of political life. Arguing that political phenomena must be analyzed in their societal context it first presents an empirical overview of the structuration of world society. Then it discusses concepts of state and argues that global governance can be analyzed as the partial and uneven globalization of different aspects of statehood. In this context it introduces the epistemological principle of Bohrian complementarity to the analysis of states. The internationalization of the institutional aspects of statehood is examined empirically with particular focus on the role of the G7/OECD nexus in providing strategic guidance and cross issue leadership. Confronting state theory with economic theories of global public goods it specifies a global function of societal persistence and examines empirically the extent to which such a function has emerged, covering inter alia the maintenance of social order, the institutional underpinnings for the global economy, and environmental sustainability. Next it examines theoretically and empirically global relations of power between social forces in relation to the global governance system; and finally it discusses American hegemonic leadership in the context of world society and global governance.