The state: postcolonial histories of the concept

Bhambra, Gurminder K (2018) The state: postcolonial histories of the concept. In: Rutazibwa, Olivia and Shilliam, Robbie (eds.) Routledge handbook of postcolonial politics. Routledge, London, pp. 200-209. ISBN 9781138944596

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This chapter focuses on what is included within the standard historical genealogies, and what is omitted, and how this structures conceptual understandings of the state. It addresses the inadequacy of the historical record used to support such conceptualisation. The Treaty of Westphalia brought to an end the Thirty Years' War between Protestant and Catholic powers in Europe and has been often cited within the social science literature as the harbinger of the system of modern states. Similarly, Krasner presents the place of the Treaty within the discipline of International Relations as inaugurating 'the modern international system composed of sovereign states each with exclusive authority within its own geographic boundaries'. The failure to acknowledge the realities of imperialism as central to the emergence of what are conceived as nation-states within Europe has a long conceptual history. However, the construction of the 'national state' was concurrent with, and indeed constituted by, its associated imperial activities.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2017 07:52
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2020 11:00
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