The Sovereign State and Its Competitors: An Analysis of Systems Change

The Sovereign State and Its Competitors An Analysis of Systems Change The present international system composed for the most part of sovereign territorial states is often viewed as the inevitable outcome of historical development Hendrik Spruyt argues that there was

  • Title: The Sovereign State and Its Competitors: An Analysis of Systems Change
  • Author: Hendrik Spruyt
  • ISBN: 9780691029108
  • Page: 211
  • Format: Paperback
  • The present international system, composed for the most part of sovereign, territorial states, is often viewed as the inevitable outcome of historical development Hendrik Spruyt argues that there was nothing inevitable about the rise of the state system, however Examining the competing institutions that arose during the decline of feudalism among them urban leagues, indThe present international system, composed for the most part of sovereign, territorial states, is often viewed as the inevitable outcome of historical development Hendrik Spruyt argues that there was nothing inevitable about the rise of the state system, however Examining the competing institutions that arose during the decline of feudalism among them urban leagues, independent communes, city states, and sovereign monarchies Spruyt disposes of the familiar claim that the superior size and war making ability of the sovereign nation state made it the natural successor to the feudal system.The author argues that feudalism did not give way to any single successor institution in simple linear fashion Instead, individuals created a variety of institutional forms, such as the sovereign, territorial state in France, the Hanseatic League, and the Italian city states, in reaction to a dramatic change in the medieval economic environment Only in a subsequent selective phase of institutional evolution did sovereign, territorial authority prove to have significant institutional advantages over its rivals Sovereign authority proved to be successful in organizing domestic society and structuring external affairs Spruyt s interdisciplinary approach not only has important implications for change in the state system in our time, but also presents a novel analysis of the general dynamics of institutional change.

    One thought on “The Sovereign State and Its Competitors: An Analysis of Systems Change”

    1. Certainly not a page turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat, but important nonetheless for understanding the rise of sovereign states as we understand them today. Effectively challenges our long held views about the importance of the Treaty of Westphalia and what that means for our understanding of states.

    2. This is a more nuanced take on Charles Tilly’s arguments about how the demands of large-scale war-making produced large state bureaucracies and the modern nation-state. The author begins by making an analogy to the evolutionary process, arguing that the events that led to the rise of nation state as the dominant form of political organization have to be separated into the exogenous shocks that first produced the nation state, and the subsequent selection stage that eliminated the nation-state [...]

    3. A surprisingly engaging and interesting book given that it's mostly talking about late mediaeval trade, which isn't exactly a subject I'd usually read about. Well argued and in-depth analysis of the factors that can lead to systems change, and analysis of three resulting outputs, and the competition between them that led eventually to the modern sovereign state. Some analysis at the end applying this to modern systems, which personally I'd have liked more of, but apart from that it was overall e [...]

    4. Spruyt takes a view of the development of the modern state which descends from the 9th century or so, as a kind of response to increased trade with the east. His materialist view asserts that the modern state rose as a result of the increased wealth of burghers in towns. Uses France, Hanseatic League and Italian city states as examples.

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