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Ancient States and Infrastructural Power: Europe, Asia, and America ed. by Clifford Ando and Seth Richardson (review)

Ancient States and Infrastructural Power: Europe, Asia, and America ed. by Clifford Ando and Seth... Book Reviews Ancient States and Infrastructural Power: Europe, Asia, and America. Edited by CLIFFORD ANDO and SETH RICHARDSON. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017. 309 pp. This volume addresses the question of how—and how autono- mously—the rulers and political elites of ancient states exercised power over the populations and territories to which they laid claim. The discussion is structured around Michael Mann’s twin concepts of “infrastructural power”—the state’s capacity to penetrate civil society and implement decisions—and “despotic power,” which allowed its agents to act without consultation or negotiation with civil society constituencies. Premodern states are commonly considered to have been rather deficient in the first of these types of political power, and this is certainly true if conditions in more modern societies serve as our principal frame of reference. Yet, even many centuries ago, central authorities needed to be able to maintain a certain degree of control in order to sustain the force generation and extractive activities that were required for preserving their position and deterring rivals. This collaborative project is designed to explore state capacity empirically by means of a series of historical case studies that are theoretically informed by Mann’s ideal types (as well as by some http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of World History University of Hawai'I Press

Ancient States and Infrastructural Power: Europe, Asia, and America ed. by Clifford Ando and Seth Richardson (review)

Journal of World History , Volume 31 (2) – Jun 10, 2020

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-8050

Abstract

Book Reviews Ancient States and Infrastructural Power: Europe, Asia, and America. Edited by CLIFFORD ANDO and SETH RICHARDSON. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017. 309 pp. This volume addresses the question of how—and how autono- mously—the rulers and political elites of ancient states exercised power over the populations and territories to which they laid claim. The discussion is structured around Michael Mann’s twin concepts of “infrastructural power”—the state’s capacity to penetrate civil society and implement decisions—and “despotic power,” which allowed its agents to act without consultation or negotiation with civil society constituencies. Premodern states are commonly considered to have been rather deficient in the first of these types of political power, and this is certainly true if conditions in more modern societies serve as our principal frame of reference. Yet, even many centuries ago, central authorities needed to be able to maintain a certain degree of control in order to sustain the force generation and extractive activities that were required for preserving their position and deterring rivals. This collaborative project is designed to explore state capacity empirically by means of a series of historical case studies that are theoretically informed by Mann’s ideal types (as well as by some

Journal

Journal of World HistoryUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jun 10, 2020

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