The nation-state and global order : a historical introduction to contemporary politics


The nation-state and global order : a historical introduction to contemporary politics

Walter C. Opello, Jr., Stephen J. Rosow

Lynne Rienner, 1999

  • : hbk
  • : pbk

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Bibliography: p. 263-276

Includes index



This introduction to contemporary politics examines the historical construction of the modern territorial state. Rejecting models of linear development, the authors fuse accounts of governing practices, technological change, political economy, language and culture into a narrative of the formation of specific state forms. The modern territorial state appears not as necessary or inevitable, but as the contingent achievement of specific, historically situated political actions and agendas. Cases of state formation in England, France, Germany, Russia, the United States, Iraq, the Republic of Congo, and Japan enrich the discussion, which ranges from ancient Rome to the present. The final chapters of the book address the consequences and future of the modern state's ability to maintain order and to rule subject populations, in a world in which state sovereignty is increasingly loosened from its territorial moorings.


  • The State and the Study of Politics. Part 1 Formation and the Emergence of the Territorial State: The Ancient Roman State - Imperial Rule
  • The Feudal "State" - Indirect Rule
  • Medieval States - Direct Rule. Part 2 Forms of the Modern Territorial State: Absolutist States - Sovereignty Instituted
  • Liberal States - Direct Rule Universalized
  • Anti-Liberal States
  • Managerial States - Direct Rule Rationalized. Part 3 Globalizing the Territorial State: Colonial States - Sovereignty Expanded
  • Nation-States - Sovereignty Re-Imagined
  • Post-Colonial States - Reflexive Sovereignty. Part 4 Challenges to the State: The Present State of States
  • The Future of the State.

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