What factors shape the forms that states take? The purpose of this critical review is to highlight the answer to this question provided by Charles Tilly in his theoretically rich and historically grounded book, Coercion, Capital, and European States, AD 990-1992, and to conclude by offering a brief evaluation of his evolutionary argument.

Tilly explicitly seeks to move beyond dominant perspectives of state formation and state structure and instead forward a theory where it is the waging of war that both incentivizes state formation and determines its form.
When we look at the dominant perspectives about the state formation we confront with four titles which are statist analyse,world system analyse,geopolitical analayse and as the last one mode of production analyse.

Tilly defines statist accounts as treating “political change as proceeding in partial independence of economic change, and presents it [state form]chiefly as a consequence of events within particular states”.In this analyse we have two important name one is Paul Kennedy and the other one is Samuel Huntington . According to Tilly, this account ignores the interplay of states on the international stage. Just think that Paul Kennedy can mention a little by adding wars and international relations.

These accounts, according to Tilly, “ground the explanation of diverse paths of state formation in a characterization of the world economy”.So the place of the state or its formation depends on its place among the others. According to Tilly, such accounts ignore or otherwise fail to explain the emergence of particular state structures.

Geopolitical accounts are characterized by Tilly as claiming “that interstate relations have a logic and influence of their own, and that state formation therefore responds strongly to the current system of relations among states”. Tilly’s critique is that such accounts do not convincingly link state form to the state’s position within the international community of states.

Such analyses, often ground in Marxist thought, “typically spell out the logic of feudalism, capitalism, or some other organization of production, then derive the state and its changes almost entirely from that logic”. Tilly critiques such approaches for failing to explain differences in state form across states with similar modes of production.

Tilly search all views about the ‘’State Formation’’ and made some critiques about them.Before starting Charles Tilly’s analyse about state formation , between all these analyses I support the geopolitical analyse most because of the reasons which are mentioned at the explanation part.The most important thing to form a state is the internal factors which are about all topics not like the statist who support only political events which are occured in the country.For example the economic,political,ethnical,class factors are effective.

Then lets begin to Charles Tilly’s theory about state formation.He theorizes that two factors explain state form and evolution: first, the concentration and particular combination of both capital which is defined as “tangible mobile resources, and enforceable claims on such resources” and coercion that isDefined as “concerted application, threatened or actual, of action that commonly causes loss or damage to the persons or possessions of individuals or groups who are aware of both the action and the potential damage” within the state, and second, the interplay of war-waging states on the international stage.

As first approximation We can devide the years sincea AD 990 into four segments,with varying temporal limits from one part of europe to another:

Patrimonialism, a time (up to the 15th century in much of the Europe) when tribes,feudal levies,urban militias,and similar customary forces played the major part in warfare, and monarchs generally extracted what capital they needed as tribute or rent from lands and populations that lay under their immediate control.

Brokerage, an era (roughly 1400 to 1700 in important parts of the Europe) when mercenary forces recruited by contractor prodominated in military activity,and rulers relies heavily on formally independent capitalist for loans, for management of revenue-producing enterprises and for installation and collection of taxes.

Nationalization, a period (especially 1700 to 1850 or so in much of Europe) when states created mass armies and navies drown increasingly from their own national populations, whilw sovereigns absorbed armed forces directly into the state’s administrative structure,and similarly took over the direct operationof the fiscal apparatus, drastically curtailing the involvement of independent contractors.

Specialization, an age (from approximately the mid-nineteenth century to the recent past) in which military force grew as a powerful specilized branch of national government ,the organizational seperation of fiscal from military activity increased,the division of labor between armies and police sharpened ,representative institutions came to have a significant influence over military expenditures,and states took on a greatly expanded range of distrubutive,regulatory,compensatory and adjudicative activities.

Clearly the relations between capital and coercion changed significantly from one period to the next.
First one according to Tilly labelled as the capital-intensive state form where capital accumulation was significant but coercive authority was diffuse (as in the Italian city states of Genoa and Venice), rulers were forced to rely on compacts with capitalists to rent or purchase military force, or contract out their defense to mercenaries.

Second one according to Tilly is the coercion-intensive state form where capital was diffuse, rulers had to squeeze the means of war from their own population via coercion, 10 as in Brandenburg and Russia.
Third one and the most famous one is the capital-coercive state form where a more balanced level of both capital and coercion accumulation occurred (as in France and England), rulers were able to “play one against the other” by using purchased force to check the holders of private armies and using national armies to persuade the holders of private capital. This balance supported the creation and maintenance of large standing armies. With time, the military superiority of war-waging capital-coercive states produced convergence towards their model of the territorial national state. In short, variance in the concentration and accumulation of capital and coercion explains the emergence of divergent state forms, whereas the inter-state waging of war spurred the eventual convergence around the national state model.

Cihangir BOZKIR


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Küçük Çamlıca Mahallesi, Filiz Sokak, No:3