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Book part
Publication date: 7 September 2008

Edgar Kiser

In contrast to some Second Wave structuralists (e.g., Skocpol, 1979), most contemporary comparative-historical sociologists support the non-reductionist version of…

Abstract

In contrast to some Second Wave structuralists (e.g., Skocpol, 1979), most contemporary comparative-historical sociologists support the non-reductionist version of methodological individualism (Weber, [1922]1978; Coleman, 1986) suggesting that any complete explanation of social phenomena must include an analysis of individual action as one of its components. However, in part because theoretical training in sociology tends to focus on macro-level causal processes, and in part because it is much easier to get macro-level data about history than good data about the motivations of historical actors, they have usually given less attention to the micro level. As a result, many of the micro-level arguments in comparative historical sociology are incomplete or ad hoc (Kiser & Hechter, 1991). The main exception to this criticism is the growing literature analyzing microfoundations from a cultural/interpretivist perspective. This work often employs complex theoretical arguments oriented to uncovering and decoding the meanings motivating or attached to actions, and sometimes uses rich archival data to illustrate these arguments. At its best, this type of work can allow the reader to see and understand an entirely different historical world from the perspective of participants in it. However, many interpretivists are not interested in doing causal analyses, and most reject the attempt to construct and test causal propositions. For scholars interested in discovering and testing the impact of general causal mechanisms, this is a serious limitation.

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Political Power and Social Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-418-8

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Patrimonial Capitalism and Empire
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-757-4

Book part
Publication date: 7 September 2008

Mounira M. Charrad

The book focuses on the Netherlands as a distinctive case which, as the first hegemonic economic and political entity in Western Europe, sheds light on similar processes…

Abstract

The book focuses on the Netherlands as a distinctive case which, as the first hegemonic economic and political entity in Western Europe, sheds light on similar processes but different outcomes in France and England. The time periods considered are the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century when the Dutch established a position of world power through a global colonial system, and the decline of Dutch hegemony in the 18th century (although Adams is careful to point out that the timing of the decline is open to debate). The purpose of the book is at once historical and theoretical. It is to analyze Dutch ascendancy and decline in an effort to “build the foundation of a more adequate explanation of historical hegemonies, of varying patterns of state formation and collapse in early modern Europe (p. 12).” Accordingly, Adams treats the Netherlands in part as a “vehicle for tackling theoretical issues of the largest possible interest (p. 7).”

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Political Power and Social Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-418-8

Book part
Publication date: 7 September 2008

Julia Adams

It is hard to imagine more thoughtful and stimulating responses to The Familial State (Adams, 2005a) than the four gathered in this symposium. Mounira Maya Charrad, Ivan…

Abstract

It is hard to imagine more thoughtful and stimulating responses to The Familial State (Adams, 2005a) than the four gathered in this symposium. Mounira Maya Charrad, Ivan Ermakoff, Edgar Kiser and Pavla Miller raise important challenges not only for me but for all those who tackle questions of large-scale comparative history. Rather than arguing about this or that point of specific interpretation – in fact I think that unlike some “Author Meets Critics” sessions, these commentators have the main arguments of the book nailed down – I will immediately turn to those issues. These include the relationship of the argument to today's patrimonial states; patriarchal power and internal family dynamics; the reasons for the decline of hegemonic powers; the microfoundations of collective action and the place of evolutionary biology in comparative historical explanation.

Details

Political Power and Social Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-418-8

Abstract

Details

Patrimonial Capitalism and Empire
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-757-4

Book part
Publication date: 31 March 2015

Julia Adams and George Steinmetz

Imperial crisis is the analytical axis on which turn two national states of emergency: the Weimar Republic (1918–1933) and the United States on the so-called “Eve of…

Abstract

Imperial crisis is the analytical axis on which turn two national states of emergency: the Weimar Republic (1918–1933) and the United States on the so-called “Eve of Destruction” (1965–1975). But while Max Weber disagreed with Carl Schmitt with respect to the problem of sovereignty at the core of the German imperium, American sociologists – even those inspired by Weber – by and large did not register the gravity of the moment of political decision in their work, or the imperial crisis that their country faced during the Vietnam War and its aftermath. This essay offers ideas regarding why this was so, what the consequences have been for American sociology, and how, in the midst of the present-day imperial and domestic governmental crisis, we might adopt a more expansive view.

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Patrimonial Capitalism and Empire
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-757-4

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Book part
Publication date: 10 August 2015

Julia Adams and Chris Shughrue

The great chartered companies that spearheaded early modern European empire combined economic accumulation and the projection of sovereign power. They operated through…

Abstract

The great chartered companies that spearheaded early modern European empire combined economic accumulation and the projection of sovereign power. They operated through networks of geographically dispersed imperial agents, experiencing bottlenecks in the long-distance flow of goods and enforcement and significant lags in communication with, and among, their agents. We develop an agent-based model, comparing an entrepot and networked structure of metropole and outpost relations. The model enables us to highlight the associated outcomes of a range of dyadic and triadic colonial networks exemplified by the Dutch East Indies Company and English East India Company, respectively. It captures basic network structure and the impact of temporal lags bound up with the policing of agents and delivery of goods over great distances. We conclude, first, that overall profits are higher for the triadic form, but as the colonial entrepot becomes a bottleneck, it accrues a disproportionate share of those profits. Second, we reveal the potential impact of the bottleneck on the evolving triadic form. The closer the entrepot is to the metropole, the better the outposts perform; however, the entrepot itself fares much worse, ultimately depressing profits at the system level. Time lags are shown to pose significant challenges for both competitiveness and control; they are a seedbed of colonial autonomy.

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Chartering Capitalism: Organizing Markets, States, and Publics
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-093-7

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Book part
Publication date: 31 March 2015

Kerry Ward

This chapter explores the implications of patrimonial politics in the Dutch East India Company empire in the context of establishing a settlement at the Cape of Good Hope…

Abstract

This chapter explores the implications of patrimonial politics in the Dutch East India Company empire in the context of establishing a settlement at the Cape of Good Hope in southern Africa in the mid-seventeenth century. The Cape extended the reach of Company patrimonial networks with elite Company officials circulating throughout the Indian Ocean empire and consolidating their familial ties through marriage both within the colonies and in the United Provinces. These patrimonial networks extended to the Cape as elite Company officials created families locally or married Cape-born women. As the colony grew, the Company created a class of free-burghers some the wealthiest of whom were tied directly into elite Company patrimonial networks. But from the early eighteenth century onwards these elite Company networks came into conflict with the evolving free-burgher patrimonial networks with which they were in direct competition. This paper argues that local patrimonial networks can evolve in a settler colony that challenge the elite patrimonial networks of the imperial elite.

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Patrimonial Capitalism and Empire
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-757-4

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 7 September 2008

Julia Adams

The central historical question that animates The Familial State – Why the rise and fall of the Dutch Republic? – at first sounds quite particular. Yet the diminutive…

Abstract

The central historical question that animates The Familial State – Why the rise and fall of the Dutch Republic? – at first sounds quite particular. Yet the diminutive Netherlands played an enormous historical role in the early modern period (1500–1800), which embraced what we still call the Dutch Golden Age. Its glorious artistic legacy is well known. The Dutch also created the first system of global commercial/colonial power. Dutch developments shaped the histories of other regions, both negatively and positively, in Europe, Africa, the Americas and the colonial territories in the East and West Indies. Furthermore, Dutch history is a window into general processes of European development and mechanisms of politico-economic stability and transformation. But the more we appreciate these facts, the more puzzling aspects of the Netherlands appear. How did its weak state dovetail with unprecedented economic hegemony? Why did not the ruling elite of the Netherlands capitalize on its new resources and reform the state, shoring up the global mercantile system? Why did the Dutch state ultimately decline? My answer to these questions, as well as the comparative optic that they necessitate, is inscribed in the title of the book itself.

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Political Power and Social Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-418-8

Abstract

Details

Patrimonial Capitalism and Empire
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-757-4

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