Rolf Schwarz

in War and State Building in the Middle East

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780813037929
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813042138 | DOI:

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The famous dictum that “war makes states” has received renewed interest in recent years with the experience of state collapse and state failure in many parts of the world. Historical studies have shown that war and state making were closely linked in early modern Europe. Getting ready for war and waging war required power holders to get involved in actions that were also conducive to state making, including the effective extraction of resources for waging wars. Extraction presupposed state control, which in turn required an efficient bureaucracy. In cases where there was little or nothing to extract from society, war making also required the promotion of capital accumulation. Through all this, the activity of war making required the growing strength of a centralized bureaucracy and the emergence of states. In the Middle East, unlike in Europe, wars did not make states—they destroyed them.

Keywords: state building; Europe; rentier state; Middle East; North Africa; legitimacy

Chapter.  5165 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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