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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: February 2020

17 - Nation-State Formation

from III - The State and Its Political Organizations


Nation-states began to form, in Europe first, in the sixteenth century. The process of formation shaped the sorts of states that emerged and have endured to the present. It is best to begin by defining nation-states so that we can be clear on the objects whose emergence we want to explain. States, in Max Weber’s (1978 [1922]: 54) definition, claim a “monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force in the enforcement of its order,” to which Michael Mann adds the crucial qualifier, in “a territorially demarcated area, over which it claims a monopoly of binding and permanent rule-making” (1986: 37).

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