The core argument of this chapter is that nomad state making in the Eurasian steppe does not follow the same pattern as European state making. Warlike and barbarian as they may seem in Eurocentric and Sinocentric sources and histories, not to mention popular culture, the nomads of Eurasia formed states mainly in order to secure trade, not to conquer and rule. The effect of this pattern of state making was an Eurasian political economy, rather than a Waltzian international system. The argument of the chapter is that nomad states took the form they took because they did not need to, and there was no strategic payoff to, develop more centralized, bureaucratic, and socially penetrating and/or responsive state forms to achieve the goal of securing trade.
Edited by Jens Bartelson, Martin Hall and Jan Teorell
Jens Bartelson, Martin Hall and Jan Teorell
This introduction outlines the main problem areas addressed by this volume. In academic international relations, comparative politics and historical sociology, the study of state making has traditionally been focused on the emergence of states in early modern Europe. The introduction makes the case for a de-centering of the study of state making, by shifting its focus to other historical and geographical contexts. It also elaborates on the preconditions for such de-centering, by discussing how the anachronism and Eurocentrism widespread within this field are best overcome. The authors conclude that this is best accomplished by aligning the concerns of comparative politics and international relations more closely, by moving beyond the tendency to accord primacy to warfare when explaining the making of states, and, finally, by overcoming the divide between materialistic and ideational approaches to state making. This is followed by a brief overview and discussion of individual contributions.