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France was at the centre of a transnational process of nineteenth-century European state formation. Since states have often reformed themselves as a result of interaction with one another, the book begins by taking a wide angle on the development of the French case, situating it within the context of state formation in Europe and the Americas. Not only were the French influenced by the progress of rival states, they also shaped the way in which other European and American states were formed. Under Napoleon, for instance, the French exported their tax system across Europe, shaping the subsequent development of taxation in large parts of Germany, Italy and the Low Countries. Also discussed here is the historiography of the French state, and its emphasis on the Revolutionary and Napoleonic period of 1789–1815 as the formative years of the nineteenth-century French state. This book, by contrast, demonstrates the importance of the post-Napoleonic period in state formation, and the opening chapter outlines this argument.
Chapter 1 surveys relations between domestic animals and state formation in Mexico from the colonial to the postrevolutionary era, and discusses how the aftosa disease arrived in Mexico. While the aftosa campaign represented an unprecedented effort by the state to intervene in the lives of livestock animals and their owners, it emerged from a longer history. Conquest, war, commodity booms, depressions, and revolution remade people's relations with domestic animals. Through these shifts, Mexico’s government had never been indifferent to animals, whether as sources of food, energy, disease, or symbolic power.
Chapter 5 shows how the aftosa outbreak shaped the Mexican state’s efforts to modernize and regulate livestock from the 1950s to the 1980s. By disrupting existing methods of production and consumption, creating new technical capacities, and offering an example of effective state action, the crisis prompted officials to contemplate more ambitious state intervention. At the same time, the aftosa crisis offered painful lessons about the kind of political compromises and alliances – international and domestic – upon which government action rested. Along with the wane of Cardenismo, the Second World War, and the so-called Green Revolution, the aftosa campaign helps explain why Mexico’s developmental state took the shape it did, and illuminates its strengths, weaknesses, and contradictions.
Between 1947 and 1954, the Mexican and US governments waged a massive campaign against a devastating livestock plague, aftosa or foot-and-mouth disease. Absorbing over half of US economic aid to Latin America and involving thousands of veterinarians and ranchers from both countries, battalions of Mexican troops, and scientists from Europe and the Americas, the campaign against aftosa was unprecedented in size. Despite daunting obstacles and entrenched opposition, it successfully eradicated the virus in Mexico, and reshaped policies, institutions, and knowledge around the world. Using untapped sources from local, national, and international archives, Thomas Rath provides a comprehensive history of this campaign, the forces that shaped it – from presidents to peasants, scientists to journalists, pistoleros to priests, mountains to mules – and the complicated legacy it left. More broadly, it uses the campaign to explore the formation of the Mexican state, changing ideas of development and security, and the history of human–animal relations.
State formation in East Asia developed a thousand years before it did in Europe, and it occurred for reasons of emulation, not competition. China, Japan, Vietnam, and Korea emerged as states beginning in the second century BCE, and existed for centuries thereafter with centralized bureaucratic control defined over territory and administrative capacity to tax their populations, field large militaries, and provide extensive public goods. They created these institutions not to wage war. Rather, these countries developed states through emulation of China. State formation in historical East Asia occurred under a hegemonic system in which war was relatively rare, not under a balance of power system with regular existential threats. Rather, domestic elites copied Chinese civilization for reasons of prestige and domestic legitimacy. Our research challenges the universality of the bellicentric thesis of state formation. The willingness to acknowledge the Eurocentric origins of much of IR theory is not new; what is new in this book is the empirical evidence we bring that shows this explicitly, and a positive theoretical contribution about the causes of state formation.
This chapter reviews the evidence from the Greek world for tribute and taxation. It begins with some comparative considerations about tributary regimes and the impact of Achaemenid imperialism on the fiscal development of the Greek city-states, including the Delian League and the Hellenistic kingdoms. The transition from tribute to taxation is cast as a significant indicator of state formation. A fundamental theme in ancient Greek taxation is the relationship between coercion and consent, especially how political institutions facilitate the sharing of communal burdens by the rich. Extraordinary levies on property and persons were a common feature of city-states, which Macedon and the Hellenistic kingdoms also adopted. Finally, the chapter treats indirect taxes, which are thought to provide a much larger and more regular portion of state revenue in the Greek world.
Vietnam’s experience in the tenth and eleventh centuries was remarkably similar to that of Korea and Japan. The adoption of Confucian traditions as preferred modes of governance, in particular, reflected strong state bureaucratic practices that made Vietnam stand out from its neighbors in continental Southeast Asia. By 973 the Vietnamese state had been recognized as a Song tributary, and within a century, the Vietnamese state had created centralized provinces, founded a Royal Confucian Academy, used Chinese in all its writings, implemented a national tax, and created a national military based on universal conscription. By 1075, the Vietnamese court had instituted civil service examinations based on Chinese Confucian classics. The civil service examination would be used for the next nine hundred years, and it was only the arrival of French imperialists that transformed the government. Confucianism penetrated to the level of economic and family organization at the village level, affecting patrilineal inheritance and even dress. Vietnamese retained their indigenous language for unofficial uses, and indigenous social and religious customs, chief among them Buddhism.
A state is most centrally composed of an administrative bureaucracy. An enormous literature extrapolates the European experience as universal and, with various modifications, asserts that the demands of war drive states to create institutions that can extract resources from society. There is remarkably little scholarship on state formation in East Asia that engages the social science literature. Most state formation occurred centuries after the initial emergence of centralized Chinese rule in the 2nd century BC, but scant scholarship explores it. Furthermore, much of the bellicist literature does not address the question of diffusion, implying diffusion through natural selection or market forces: those units that adapted best survived, those that didn’t were “winnowed.” In contrast to Europe, in East Asia there was clearly diffusion from core to periphery. Emulation, learning, and competition are all potentially present at the same time. The bellicist theory is possibly limited in that it selectively focuses its attention on a single mechanism of diffusion and institutional isomorphism at the expense of non-coercive mechanisms such as emulation.
Describing and explaining state formation in Korea and Japan is fundamentally about understanding the transformative, enduring, and massive impact of Chinese civilization on its neighbors throughout the entire East Asian region and across literally thousands of years. The best way to understand Chinese civilization and its neighbors is as core and periphery – a massive hegemon’s influence. In the 4th century, the Korean peninsula contained three kingdoms: Silla, Paekche, and Koguryo. All three Korean states learned from and emulated China extensively and intensively. In Japan, historians call the new, centralized order built in Japan during the 4th to 8th century theritsuryo state, because it was based on Chinese-style penal (ritsu) and administrative (ryo) codes. The impact of Chinese civilization was comprehensive, including language, education, writing, poetry, art, mathematics, science, religion, philosophy, social and family structure, political and administrative institutions and ideas, and more. The strands of this civilization that had to do with government are almost impossible to understand outside of this larger civilizational context.
Neither war nor preparations for war were the cause or effect of state formation in East Asia. Instead, emulation of China—the hegemon with a civilizational influence—drove the rapid formation of centralized, bureaucratically administered, territorial governments in Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. Furthermore, these countries engaged in state-building not to engage in conflict or to suppress revolt. In fact, war was relatively rare and there was no balance of power system with regular existential threats—the longevity of the East Asian dynasties is evidence of both the peacefulness of their neighborhood and their internal stability. We challenge the assumption that the European experience with war and state-making was universal. More importantly, we broaden the scope of state formation in East Asia beyond the study of China itself and show how countries in the region interacted and learned from each other and China to develop strong capacities and stable borders.
Chapter 1 focuses on the state as a distinct form of political organization, and analyzes the formation and capacity of states in Latin America. It initially considers the states created by indigenous peoples in pre-Columbian times and the states subsequently imposed by the Spanish and Portuguese colonial rulers. It next shows how modern states were formed in Latin America after independence from Spain and Portugal. It argues that Latin America pursued a trade-led model of state formation and that the resulting states were weak, patrimonial states – that is, states that were treated by rulers, partially at least, as their private property and did not enforce the rule of law. Moreover, it holds that state weakness has been a persistent problem in Latin America, as a discussion of Mexico and Uruguay shows, and that contemporary states are unable to impose their rule in a uniform manner throughout the territory they claim to control. It maintains that Latin America has modern states, but also that these states are weak.
This chapter argues that by studying statecraft as entailing acts of citizenship, Women and the Islamic Republic contributes to feminist political theory and the feminist struggle to move beyond resistance in discussions of women and the state. The importance of non-elite Iranian women to the conditioning of the state formation process is not tied to the Iranian context. Rather, my exploration of gendered citizenship in contemporary Iran can more broadly help us understand the substance of citizenship, as well as the state formation process for hybrid regimes in the region and beyond. The chapter concludes by offering a summary of each chapter that follows.
During different moments of conflict, post-revolutionary Iranian’s formal and informal legislation ebbs and flows between plans to condition, eliminate or limit citizenship. This trend in the country’s post-revolutionary history also leaves much space for mediation and slippages that reconfigure national governance projects on the local terrain. In post-revolutionary Iran, then, it is not only the state’s republican elements that make it unpredictable through elections and the press (Osanloo, 2009). Women and the Islamic Republic has argued that when we integrate acts of citizenship into the state-building process, we see that the post-revolutionary Iranian state is heavily conditioned by the gendered legacies of the Iran–Iraq war. Moreover, authoritarianism is an ambiguous project when examined from within society.
If one picks up the travelogue of any nineteenth-century explorer, chances are it will discuss the payment of transit levies, or hongo as it was commonly called. Most European travellers dismissed hongo as mere blackmail. But to understand roadblock politics today, we need to acknowledge how significant such transit taxes were for the transformation of African politics. Chapter 2 zooms in on the heyday of these roadblock polities, roughly between 1820 and 1890, along two of the main long-distance trade routes into Central Africa: the Congo River and the trunk road from Zanzibar. Out of the narrow points of passage along them, the increasing circulation of goods valued in Europe and the USA allowed African communities to manufacture veritable roadblock polities. They forged power out of the capacity to withhold the minimal logistical requirements necessary for these pre-colonial supply chains to operate: the right of way, protection against robbery, and access to water and other basic supplies on which caravan travel relied. Control over such points soon became so important that it overtook other sources of power as the central driving force behind state formation in the region.
On 20 November 2012, the rebel group M23 seized control of North Kivu’s provincial capital, Goma. Over the subsequent year, it occupied much of that province. M23 made itself an obligatory passage point for trade by occupying strategically situated points at the heart of flows of internal displacement, minerals, aid, and trade. It handled taxation professionally: it gave out receipts, and set fixed rates for different sizes and types of vehicles, which were also slated according to contents. About half a millennium earlier, in 1568, the Jaga had made a similar move, conquering a strategic point along a key trade route in present-day Congo. Jan Vansina has called this ‘the first instance of an inland people attempting to gain wealth by cutting out middlemen along the trade routes’. These events are clear instances of strategies with a much broader purchase. Today there are so many roadblocks in Central Africa that it is hard to find a road which does not have one; and in the centuries following the Jaga episode, numerous African polities were crafted out of control over trade route bottlenecks. This book is about these roadblocks, and this chapter explores how control over passage points along trade routes embodies a key form of power and an object of struggle in Central Africa, contemporary and historical.
On 20 November 2016, residents of Gran Chaco Province in south-east Bolivia voted by popular referendum to approve a statute that established Gran Chaco as Bolivia's first autonomous region. This article examines regional autonomy in the Chaco as an example of how identities, territory and political power are being remapped at the intersection of an extractivist development model and competing visions of a plurinational state. I chart how regional autonomy, an elite-led project centred on demands for a fixed share of departmental gas royalties, has been institutionalised under the framework of plurinationalism and used to bolster central state power in this gas-rich region. The article considers the historical evolution of this regionalist project, its intersection with broader processes of state formation under the Movimiento al Socialismo (Movement towards Socialism, MAS) government and its implications for the Chaco's Indigenous peoples, who have achieved significant representation within the regional assembly while seeing their own visions of territorial autonomy sidelined by an extractivist development agenda.
Based on extensive interviews and oral histories as well as archival sources, Women and the Islamic Republic challenges the dominant masculine theorizations of state-making in post-revolutionary Iran. Shirin Saeidi demonstrates that despite the Islamic Republic's non-democratic structures, multiple forms of citizenship have developed in post-revolutionary Iran. This finding destabilizes the binary formulation of democratization and authoritarianism which has not only dominated investigations of Iran, but also regime categorizations in political science more broadly. As non-elite Iranian women negotiate or engage with the state's gendered citizenry regime, the Islamic Republic is forced to remake, oftentimes haphazardly, its citizenry agenda. The book demonstrates how women remake their rights, responsibilities, and statuses during everyday life to condition the state-making process in Iran, showing women's everyday resistance to the state-making process.
There are so many roadblocks in Central Africa that it is hard to find a road that does not have one. Based on research in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR), Peer Schouten maps more than a thousand of these roadblocks to show how communities, rebels and state security forces forge resistance and power out of control over these narrow points of passage. Schouten reveals the connections between these roadblocks in Central Africa and global supply chains, tracking the flow of multinational corporations and UN agencies alike through them, to show how they encapsulate a form of power, which thrives under conditions of supply chain capitalism. In doing so, he develops a new lens through which to understand what drives state formation and conflict in the region, offering a radical alternative to explanations that foreground control over minerals, territory or population as key drivers of Central Africa's violent history.
Chapter 2 explores how the anxiety of productivity played out in the bureaucratic system, by focusing on how laziness and inefficiency were criminalized in the Ottoman bureaucracy from the late nineteenth century until the end of World War I. This chapter considers the daily practices of the Ottoman reform period as central to the construction of a culture of productivity, rather than attributing causality to an emulation of certain idealized notions of the “West.” A plethora of documents (personnel records, bills, memorandums, and petitions, along with accounts by and about officeholders) show how in these empire-wide offices Ottoman citizens, bureaucrats and laypeople alike, experienced the anxiety of efficiency and modern practices of work. The personnel files document the severe responses meted out to those deemed lazy, slow, and careless. In turn, bureaucrats disputed these accusations through legal means. These processes reveal a contested realm over the expectations and actual performance of duties from the perspective of both the state and its employees.
The Ptolemaic and Seleucid empires are usually studied separately, or otherwise included in broader examinations of the Hellenistic World. This book proposes a more dynamic comparison, with a particular, though not exclusive focus on the interaction of the royal centers with local populations and elites. Both political entities are approached as multiethnic empires whose resemblance and entanglement are sufficient to make comparisons meaningful. In the process of comparing them, differences and connections become more salient and better explained. We aim to explore the different structural capacities for, and levels of, integration that were either aspired to or achieved by the kings and populations of each empire.