Evaluating Pinker’s Claim That States Reduced War

Did the emergence of the state reduce the rate of human death from warfare? Steven Pinker's outstanding book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, surveys many reasons why you are less likely to die from violence today than your ancestors were. Part of his explanation is that warfare was constant in … Continue reading Evaluating Pinker’s Claim That States Reduced War

The Difference Between Governments and States

"The state," wrote sociologist Max Weber, "is a relation of men dominating men." I agree. Furthermore, no human being should dominate another human being. Therefore, the state should not exist. But I'm not an anarchist. How can that be? We have to distinguish between "governments" and "states." Anarchy is the absence of formal government, and … Continue reading The Difference Between Governments and States

State Making Quotations

This term I have been teaching a new seminar entitled, "State Making and State Breaking." It's basically about state formation and capacity building from medieval Europe to contemporary Africa ("state making") plus secessionism, irredentism, de facto statehood, and other challenges to sovereignty ("state breaking"). We've now reached about the halfway point, having dealt with the … Continue reading State Making Quotations

*Theorizing Medieval Geopolitics*

Theorizing Medieval Geopolitics: War and World Order in the Age of the Crusades by Andrew A. Latham (Routledge, 2012) offers a constructivist interpretation of late-medieval European states and warfare. Latham describes his approach as offering an "explanation-what" or "property" theory rather than an "explanation-why" or causal theory. He is interested in clarifying the nature of … Continue reading *Theorizing Medieval Geopolitics*