The Imperialism and Its Effect

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Week 4: The (Nation)State and Global Politics


1. Modern idea (of the state and interstate relationships):

a. clearly demarcated political areas TERRITORY

i. singular states possessing internationally recognized borders

b. people living in that area POPULATION

c. political structure for the a. and b. SOVEREIGN GOVERNMENT


Early civilizations/early empires

1) Chinese, Japanese and Islamic

i. developed in relative isolation, as “discrete worlds” (until approximately the

year of 1000)

b. accumulation and concentration of coercive means

c. culturally diverse and heterogeneous

d. extraction of tribute to support the emperor’s administration apparatus and the military

e. huge territories/limited mobility and transportation means

f. limited administrative authority:

i. ruled but not governed (domination through coercion with limited

administrative means to control the conquered territories)

ii. concentrated political power and limited political authority.

Medieval Europe

1) feudalism

i. fragmented and divided political authority; “overlapping claims and powers” (P.


ii. no principle of territorial political rule / no clear territorial demarcation:

iii. power personal and local

iv. military + tribute and rent

2) “alternatives”

a. cities and urban federations – depended on commerce

b. papacy and “the order of international Christian society” (Bull);

c. God/religious doctrine as the source of authority (11 c)

Early Modern States (15th-18th Century)

1) Medieval notion of politics erodes

a. barons vs. monarchs; peasants vs. landlords; spread of trade and commerce;

renaissance humanism; new (military) technologies; consolidation of national


monarchies; religious strife vs. universal claims of Catholicism and struggle between the

state and the church

2) Two new emerging types of state

a. ‘absolute’ monarchies (France, Prussia, Spain, Austria, Russia and Sweden)