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 2: Steppe state making

Martin Hall


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.

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