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  • Cited by 22
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
October 2020
Print publication year:
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Book description

The majority of European early modern empires – the Castilian, French, Dutch, and English/British – developed practices of jurisdictional accumulation, distinguished by the three categories of extensions, transports, and transplants of authority. This book is concerned with various diplomatic and colonial agents which enabled the transports and transplants of sovereign authority. Through historical analyses of ambassadors and consuls in the Mediterranean based on primary and secondary material, and on the empires' Atlantic imperial expansions and conquests, the book makes a major analytical contribution to historical sociology. As an interdisciplinary exercise in conceptual innovation based on a Political Marxist framework and its concept of social property relations, the book goes beyond common binaries in both conventional and critical histories. The new concept of jurisdictional accumulation brings ambassadors, consuls, merchants, and lawyers out of the shadows of empire and onto the main stage of the construction of modern international relations and international law.


‘This book is an event. Maïa Pal’s concept of Jurisdictional Accumulation, i.e. the development of actual practices of law, illuminates the shortcomings of conventional narratives of the history of international law. She convincingly demonstrates how much can be gained from making use of concepts of political economy for this analysis. Her focus on the practices of consuls opens up a new field of research for the historiography of exterritoriality.’

Heide Gerstenberger - retired professor for ‘Theory of State and Society’ at the University of Bremen

‘Anyone seriously interested in the early modern state system should read and ponder Maïa Pal's stimulating new study. Theoretically aware, based upon extensive research and deep thought, tightly argued and notably well written, it challenges many established assumptions and proposes a new paradigm, along the way providing important insights on topics such as extraterritoriality and the development of the Westphalian international order. Warmly recommended for both IR specialists and historians.’

Hamish Scott - FBA, Jesus College, Oxford

'Maïa Pal's Jurisdictional Accumulation breaks new ground in the Historical Sociology of International Relations by providing an interdisciplinary, empirically rich, and theoretically sophisticated re-interpretation of the strategies of legal and mercantile sub-state actors in the formation of the institution of 'extra-territoriality'. Jurisdictional Accumulation is an ambitious intervention that fundamentally alters our understanding of early modern imperialism.'

Benno Teschke - University of Sussex

‘Maïa Pal's work is astonishing in many respects. Firstly, it develops a definitively innovative genesis of early modern empires. Through the concept of Jurisdictional Accumulation, this topic is seen under new light. Another surprising and significant aspect comes from the application of a Marxist analytical framework to the research findings. All-in-all, a landmark piece of work.’

Jörg Ulbert - Université Bretagne Sud, France

‘Pal’s main research strength lies in her command of an extensive secondary literature from which she extracts substance to support her innovative argumentation and analysis … The book is to be welcomed as an able and convincing elaboration of this thesis [of jurisdictional accumulation]. But alongside original inquiry into early modern history, Jurisdictional Accumulation evinces a commitment to the development of a historical sociology of early modern empires. That is, Pal’s goal is just as much the exposition of method as it is the presentation of original research. Legal historians may find that this may be its most lasting contribution to their work.’

Christopher Tomlins Source: Legal Form

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