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 3: De-centering federal origins: India and the contested appropriation of federal democracy

Ted Svensson


The chapter explores conceptions during the early twentieth century regarding the required and desired underpinnings of a post-imperial India – one in which both British India and the indirectly ruled princely states were first, by the British, proposed and then, through the work of the Indian Constituent Assembly, made to constitute a federation. It specifically enquires into India’s federal origins – that is, what enabled the push towards federalism and what was it foremost an answer to – and the extent to which the findings confirm Europe-centered accounts and expectations. In the chapter, India is found to equal an exemplary case when we address the manner in which notions of proper and full-fledged statehood developed as part of imperial and decolonizing undertakings. India’s federal origins, moreover, attest to the restricted validity of regarding state making in Europe as unaffected by imperial commitments and the rest of the world as equivalent to a ‘diffused Europe.’

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