Brendan O'Leary

in Right-sizing the State

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780199244904
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600050 | DOI:

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Brendan O’Leary identifies the main goal of the volume, which is to investigate the causes and consequences of the politics of moving borders. He defines ‘right‐sizing’ as the preferences of political agents at the centre of existing regimes to have what they regard as appropriate external and internal territorial borders. The author then offers an eight‐part definition of a modern state and the resulting typical crises of statehood. He argues that any theory of right‐sizing the state must address two interrelated questions: What factors, from the perspective of central government elites, govern the right‐sizing of state's domestic and external territorial shape? And which factors govern the right size of the state's despotic (coercive) and infrastructural (policy‐making, extractive, allocative, and distributive) powers?

Keywords: elites; government; right‐sizing; state; statehood; territorial borders

Chapter.  5215 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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