De-Centering State Making
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De-Centering State Making

Comparative and International Perspectives

Edited by Jens Bartelson, Martin Hall and Jan Teorell

Bridging the gap between international relations and comparative politics, this book transposes Eurocentric theories and narratives of state-making to new historical and geographical contexts in order to probe their scope conditions. In doing this, the authors question received explanations of the historical origins and geographical limits of state-making, questioning the unilinear view of the emergence of the modern state and the international system. Theoretically and methodologically eclectic, the volume explores a range of empirical cases not often discussed in the literature.
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Chapter 5: When does war make states? War, rivalries and fiscal extraction in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

Agustín Goenaga and Alexander von Hagen-Jamar


This chapter evaluates the applicability of bellicist theories of state formation beyond early modern Europe. First, we offer an analytical overview of academic research that has examined the effects of military pressures on state making in different parts of the world during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We discuss how, as the literature has matured, the de-centering of bellicist theory has increasingly focused on providing fine-grained empirical assessments of the scope conditions of the theory rather than on discussions about its transhistorical applicability. Second, we present our own set of empirical tests and models to examine the effects of wars and military rivalries on levels of fiscal extraction as an indicator of state building from 1815 to 2006. Our analyses further reinforce the point that interpreting bellicist theory as a transhistorical explanation of political development is misguided. If there is a causal relationship between military pressures and state building beyond early modern Europe, it is conditional on country- and system-level factors and is highly sensitive to measurement choices and model specifications.

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