Long established and revisionist approaches to European state formation are put to one side in this article and a turn to the imperial domains of early modern states is made. The rise of Atlantic Studies as a new current of history has drawn attention to transatlantic patterns of colonialism. However, historical sociologists and comparativists have yet to grapple with the conclusions of this field of research. This article points to a possible line of argument that could draw historical sociology and Atlantic Studies together. It takes up the argument that early modern polities broke new ground in the formation of territorial institutions when they turned to transcontinental state building. From their inception, the projects of empire produced conflict-driven institutions. Comparative examination of the Spanish, British, Dutch, French and Portuguese empires reveals that, despite the authority accorded to overarching institutions of imperial government, domestic and colonial patterns of institutional formation diverged considerably. The article explores how developments in European territories took one course in each case, while colonial trajectories in the Americas took others and thereby generated distinct kinds of conflict.
Smith, J.C.A. (2005), "Europe's Atlantic Empires: Early Modern State Formation Reconsidered", Davis, D.E. (Ed.) Political Power and Social Theory (Political Power and Social Theory, Vol. 17), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 101-150. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0198-8719(04)17004-XDownload as .RIS
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