What is State Formation and How Does It Occur?

1329 Words6 Pages
In order to answer the question concerning the formation of states, it is necessary to clarify what constitutes a state; the Oxford English Dictionary defines a state as ‘a nation or territory considered as an organized political community under one government’. There are a number of ways and processes in which to analyse what state' class='brand-secondary'>state formation is, why they have formed and the way in which this has occurred. State emergence can be traced back to the creation of territorial boundaries in medieval Europe, such as the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, and its transition to a modern state can be attributed to the introduction of gunpowder in war (Hague & Harrop, 2010: 64). The formations of states have also been influenced by the growth of bureaucracy, administration and organisations. There are different theories as to the reason why states form, a certain few of which can be divided into the categories of rationalist, culturalist and structuralist perspectives. In this essay, these perspectives shall enter the debate in trying to justify the reason for state formation and the way in which it occurs. The most prominent feature in the formation of states appears to be the prevention and engagement of a state in war and its following consequences.

To examine what state formation is and how it has occurred the logical route seems to assess from where they have evolved. The notion of the state is a relatively recent concept, for example in 1555 there existed only two national states, England and France. With otherwise the existence of disorganised and corrupt empires, federations and protectorates. It appears states have formed despite the many obstacles facing their development. Not only did the challenges of securing territory exist but ri...

... middle of paper ...

... 24 (2), 177.

Braun, R. (1975), ‘Taxation, Sociopolitical Structure, and State-Building: Great Britain and Brandenburg-Prussia’, in C.Tilly (ed), The Formation of National States in Western Europe, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Dwyer, P (2000). The Rise of Prussia 1700-1830. London: Longman. 18-9.

Hague, R. & M. Harrop (2010). Comparative Government and Politics. 8th ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 64.

Moore, B (1967). Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World. Harmondsworth: Penguin. 433-442.

Simmons, A. John (1992). The Lockean Theory of Rights. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 127.

Tilly, C. (1985). War Making and State Making as Organized Crime. In: P.B Evans, D. Rueschemeyer & T. Skocpol Bringing the state back in. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 171.

More about What is State Formation and How Does It Occur?

Open Document