Weberian Sociological Theory

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Iberian sociological theory

Max Weber is undoubtedly one of the most important sociologists of all time, and his writings have been extensively commented upon. Yet, as Randall Collins convincingly argues in this book, much of Weber's work has been misunderstood, and many of his most striking and sophisticated theories have been neglected, or even overlooked. By analyzing these hitherto little-studied aspects of Weber's writings, Professor Colljns is able both to offer a new interpretation of Weberian sociology and to show how the more fruitful lines of the Weberian approach can be projected to an analysis of current world issues. Professor Collins begins with Weber's theory of the rise of capitalism, examining it in the light of Weber's later writings on the subject and extending the Weberian line of reasoning to suggest a

"Weberian revolution" in both medieval Europe and China. He also offers a new interpretation of Web-er's theory of politics, showing it to M a "world-system " model1, and he expands this into a theory of geopolitics, using as a particular illustration the prediction of the future decline of Russian world power. Another "buried treasure" in Weber's corpus that he brings to light is Weber's conflict the-o,ry of the family as sex and property, which Professor Collins applies to the

historical question of the conditions that led to the initial rise of the status of women. He also makes other applications of the Weberian

approach - for example, to produce a comparative theory of technological innovation, and theories of the conditions for heresy disputes in both religious and secular form, and of alienation as a secular political ideology. This broad view of the corpus of Weber's work shows that Weberian sociology remains intellectually alive and that many of his theories still represent the frontier of our knowledge about large-scale social processes. It will interest teachers and students of sociology, political science, history, philosophy, and economics, as well. as appealing to any reader concerned with such current affairs as world politics, feminism, and the role of technology.


Weberian sociological theory

RANDALL COLLINS of California, Riverside


Hwy VIA UI UI( The Urinwrsify be: .Prl.':!¢'df

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS Caminddge L London New York New Rochelle Melbourne Sydney






Published by the Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge The Fitt Building, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CE-2 IRP 32 Fast 57th Street, New York, NY wozz, use 10 Stamford Road, Oakleigh, Melbourne 3166, Australia

© Cambridge University Press 1986 First published 1986

Printed in the United States of America L:'blnrj,r

of Congress Cataloging in Fubfifation


Collins, Randall, 1941Webcrian sociological theory. Includes index. 1.

Sociology - Germany.


Weber, Max, 1864-1920

Criticism and interpretation. L Title. Hl\-'l22.G3W4157 1986 301201 85-7879

sum 0 521 30698 I hard covers ISBN o 521 31426 7 paperback

British Library Cataloging in Publication applied for

For Sam Kaplan


Preface 1.



Religion as economics Fnlitfcs as religion F Economics as politics l-

page xi 1

7 12


Part I. Economics 2.

Weber's last theory of capitalism The comp:menfs of raiiunalized capitalism


The causal chain

26 34 37 44

WeE1et"s general theory of history Arr assessment' Weber's co1'1fro°ntat"ion with Marxism

Conclusion 3.

The Weberian revolution of the High Middle Ages The Weberian mode! The bureaucratic Church Monasteries as gggngmfg entrepreneurs Was medieval Europe capitalist? Riva! developments: religious capitalism in Buddhist China The downfall of religious capitalism in Eunepe Conclusion


A theory of technology What is are imtsentévn?

The case of military technology The long-tern: perspective Tribal Sr.1cir¢'fi£s

Corramand economies Capitalist innovation Conclusion



45 46 49 52 54 58 73'


77 So

85 95 97 102.

111 115

Contents 5.

Weber and Schumpeter: toward a general sociology of capitalism Weber and Sckurnpetcr Where do prqHts come from?

Monopolization as a key economic process The organizational politics of money

Conclusion: the nature of capitalist development

117 119 112 125

134 139

Part II. Politics 6.

Imperialism and legitimacy: Weber theory of politics Economic interests, imperialist and no imperialist Nationalism


745 148 151

Legitimacy Legitimacy and imperialism

155 158

Geopolitics, extemai and internal'


Modern technology and geopolitics The size of arrnternporary and traditional states

The vulnerability of sea power Air power and its geopolitical effects Conclusion 8.

The futL11°e decline of the Russian Empire


Size and resource advantage Positional advantage Fragmentation of interior states Showdown wars and turning points Overextension and disintegration Russian expansion and resource advantage Russian toss of rnarchlanfi advantage

187 189

Russia as an interior state


The Cold War as a turning point Russian overextension

197 197

Interaction of geopolitical disadvantages Alternative perspectives Conclusion

187 188 190 191


201 204


Part IT. Culture g.

Heresy, religious and secular The universal church and the impend state Heresy and urguniznfiurzaf power struggles


213 215


Contents Geopoliiicol events and internal church conflicts The asymmetry of mystical and moralistic religions Puritans versus compromisers within moralistic religions Equivalents in secular politics 10.

Alienation as ritual and ideology The I-:legelinn background


Alzkznnfion in Marx's system


The romnnticization of past and present Cultural snobbery or revolution in ritual production? Surplus value versus the sociology of markets A micro-macro perspective Alienoiirm as modern secular politics

247 251


255 259 261

Part IV. Sex 11 .

Weber's theory of the family Family obstacles to capitalism

The geopolitics of the family The family as sex and property Political and economic determinants of family organization The kin group and its transformations The rise and fall of the household Appendix: The question of Iroquois rnatriarcNy 12.

267 267 271

276 2.77 285 287 294

Courtly politics and the status of women The Nagar puzzle Marrazge politics in Henan Japan Conclusions: courtly politics and the status of women in


world history Appendix: Moral politics in ancient Rome


References Index




315 323 337'


This book represents an effort to demonstrate that Weberian sociology is intellectually alive, in at least as full a sense as Marxian sociology is alive today. By this I mean not only that Max Weber's works are a landmark in the history of our discipline but also that in many respects his ideas still mark the frontier of our knowledge. This is particularly true in the areas of macrosociology: politics, economics, large-scale stratification patterns, and above all in the megasociology of long-term historical change. At the same time, I am no believer in the excessive adulation of past theorists, no matter how heroic. The best way to demonstrate the vitality of Weber's theories is to show they are capable of projection beyond themselves. That is what this book attempts to do. Weber was an extraord'marily multisided figure, and I do not claim to develop more than a few sides of his approach. I have acquired some appreciation for what Weber's various sides have included, or at least engendered, from my teachers of some years past Talcott Parsons and Reinhard Bendix. Various parts of this book have benefited from comments or other assistance by Samuel W. Kaplan, Vatro Murvar, Stephen Kalberg, Guenther Roth, Walter Goldfrank, Norbert Wiley, 'Whitney Pope, Al Bergesen, Immanuel Wallenstein, Wolfram Eberhard, lack Goldstone, Paul DiMaggio, Ken Donow, Craig CaI»

hour, Robert L. Hamblin, Michael Hout, Arthur L. Stinchcombe, Rae Lesser Blumberg, Richard Gordon, Melvin Seaman, Roy d'Andrade, and Victor Zaslavsky. 'Whether they approve of what has resulted here is, of course, another matter-






Why another book about Max Weber? He is recognizably among the most important. sociologists of all time and, except for Karl Marx, probably the most commented upon as well. Yet Weber's sociology is one of the least well understood. I say this even though everyone has heard of the Protestant ethic, charisma, and the iron cage of bureaucratization, and current Marxists write of legitimation crisis and make most of their revisions in a Weberian direction. Very simply: because some of the most important parts of Weber's advanced work have been overlooked, underused, or drastically misunderstood. An instance is Weber's theory of capitalism. I-tis early paper "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism" (1904) has been the subject of an enormous literature. For many, it remains the "Weber thesis," despite the fact that others have pointed to his midperiod series on comparative world religions, whit moves considerably beyond his early' position (1g1631951, 1916-17»'1958, 191719/1952; see Parsons, 1967). And, indeed, Weber's comparative analyses remained half finished, with pictures still to be drawn of ancient Mediterranean societies, Islam, and medieval Christendom; and

Weber's last treatment of the subject, just after the end of World War I and in the aftermath of the Gentian revolution, deals with Marxism

much more extensively and moves his sociology of economics much farther iron his early idealist interests.

In the case of Weber's theory of peiitics, I would argue that his explicitly stated position in his systematic work Wirtseliaft and Cesell

schsft (1922) has never been fully set forth. let alone appreciated and developed. His views of politics have been the subject of much polemic (e-8-, Mommsen, Adorne, Marcuse, Roth) and have been made the basis of some quite famous developments in subsequent social theory, of which the ideas of Mannheim (1935) and C. Wright Mills (1956) are only a few examples. reverts eless, the views of Weber's politics have been constructed out of bits and pieces of his political sensibilities. One such is in his middle-of-the-road lecture to his radical students in 1919, "Science as a Vocation" ("Politics is a strong and


Introduction slow boring of hard boards. It takes both passion and perspective. Only he who in the face of all this can say 'In spite of all' has the calling for politics." [Weber, 1946:1281), with its emphasis on the now rather malignecl preference for academic value-freedom. Other scholars have concentrated on Weber's writings on legitimacy, pulling these in a strongly coiwenlionalist, Orclnung-coliscious direction (Farsons, 1947) or, alternatively, flourishing the possibility of charismatic revolution (Gcrth and Mills, 1946). Still others have sought Weber's

politics in his writings on bureaucracy (Mannheim, 1935; C. Wright Mills, 1956; Gerth, 1982). Whereas these writers have taken Weber's theme of rationalization in a pessimistic sense, others (Schluchter, 1981; Ilabermas, 1979) have put a progress-oriented and evolutionary construction on it.

But there is, in fact, a systematic exposition of the theory of politics by Weber himself. The last seven chapters of Wirtskaft and Gesellschaft, akin-E up more than a third of his major book, are devoted to different aspects of politics (domination, legitimacy, bureaucracy, patrimonialisrn, feudalism, charisma, hierocracy, and so forth). Some (rather small) parts of this work are famous, but taken out of their

context as segments of a general comparative treatment of the sociological dimensions of politics- One of the most often overlooked is the beginning part of chapter 9, "Political Communities," which introduces the entire analysis to follow. Segments of this have been reprinted in the famous Gerth and Mills reader (Weber, 1946), but without capturing the initial, key arguments and the logic that ties the whole scheme together. Weber's theory of politics turns out to be an unsentimental view of the conditions of domination and conflict. Legitimacy plays a central enough role in this, but in Weber's full model legitimacy is not the static typology that it has been in the hands of his commentators. Weber proposes a dynamic for legitimacy, one that is tied both to the status Claims of the state in the international military

arena and to the three-sided grid of contending interest groups within the: society (the familiar "class, status, and party"). Weber's political sociology, I am going to argue, works essentially from the outside in. Societies cannot be understood alone, as independent functional units, cultures, or arenas delimited [or the convenience of the analyst. Their politics is tied first and foremost to the shifting relationships of the external realm. Weber was oriented toward the "world system" long before Wallerstein popularized the term. but with a difference- Weber attempted to show (fairly successfully, I believe) that the key external dynamics of states is not econoni'1( j but military - geopolitical in the largest sense. What this implies, I conclude, is that a great deal of political analysis has to be 2

Irztroductfon redone, and that the direction to follow is to consolidate and improve what is known of geopolitical theory - the causes and consequences of the military interrelationships of states - with an emphasis on extending it to link up with in terra politics. Throughout the various interactions, in which internal politics reverberates back into the extemal arena, I think it is worthwhile keeping our attention on a central Weberian theme: that the guiding dynamic is a larger, international status system, not reducible to the economic (or bureaucratic or other) internal interests and resources of local political actors . Perhaps enough has been said to make the point of there being much in Weber that has remained buried and that is well worth

sahraging and using as the point o.f departure for ourselves. There are other areas, as well, in which Weber has hidden treasures, or in which the Weberian perspective can advance our theoretical understanding of some central issues. One such area is the treatment of sex. Weber has a powerful, and unsentiinental, theory of the tarnily, it has gone almost entirely unnoticed, but it offers a realistic conflict viewpoint on the issue of sexual stratification, and points to some of the cnicial historical developments that have changed the status of women in the West. As in much of the rest of Weber, the analysis of the

family is unique in showing how much o.f family structure hinges on politics. I make no claim to have uncovered the "true" Weber, Perhaps such a thing exists, but we certainly do not know it. Surprisingly enough, we still lack a definitive full-scale intellectual biography of Weber. We know well neither his personal life, nor his social and intellectual milieu, nor the development and continuity of his ideas through the

various phases of his life. What we have instead are the (somewhat censored) memories of his wife (Marianne Weber, 1925X1975}, some psychohistorical speculations and sexual exposes (Mitzman,

1 g7o;

Green, 1974), and a series of very competent studies on selected themes (Parsons, 1937, Bender, 1960) that nevertheless remain onesided and selective. We have nothing like the fully rounded picture of Emile Durkheim and his milieu that emerges from Steven Lukes [1973] and Terry Clark (1973), although some useful building blocks

exist (Bendix and Roth, 1971; Burger, 1976; Kalberg, 1980). l~.-ly aim is not to provide that intellectual biography, or even to offer a glimpse of what I think would be a well-rounded picture of Weber. My picture is one-sided, and quite consciously so. Weber was much more of a Gentian idealist of the Dillliey type, and a historicist of the school of German historical economics, than I choose to emphasize here. There is no doubt that, especially in his early works, Weber is explicitly concerned to give the role of ideas in history their


Introduction due, and to defend both ideas and history against the encroachments of positivist causal generalizations.1 Personally I am much more sympathetic to that positivist effort to build an explanatory science, and I believe that the value of Weber's works is in just the leads he gives toward building a sophisticated and realistic conflict theory. Such are not the preferences of many theorists today, since we live in an era in which the spirit of Dilthej/'s Gcisteswissenschaft Ls reechoed by trendy modes of Frankfurt Marxism and the various dialects of Paris structuralism, and further reinforced by the bias toward particularisrn and specialization characteristic of our crowded academic world. The existence of these trends is OIIE of the reasons why Weber's treasures have remained buried so long, even after intense examination during the past half century. Perhaps, then, I am going against Weber's posthumous wishes, putting emphasis where he would not have himself intended. Certainly my approach goes against much of his explicit methodological writings, which stress that theories can only take the form of ideal types with which to chart the particulars of the endless How that makes up history. But ultimately it is of no importance to what degree I have drawn from a one-sided selection of Weber. My complaint 1 This is particularly clear in his early articles in Schmolfefs jahrbuch on Rosser and Knies (1903, 1905, 1906£1975}, written at just the time he was worldng up his ap-

proach to the Protestant ethic. These works are notably parallel to Dl,irklteim's early work (in fact his Latin dissertation) on Montesquieu (1892). In each case, the writer was cleaning his own position vis-a-vis his principal intellectual ancestors, although the substantive content of the positions each took up was diametrically opposed. Durkhcirn praised Montesquieu as a predecessor in the scientific search for the basic structures of society, whereas Weber attacked precisely this type of belief in rtornothetic laws, evolution, and the value premises implied in the image of the healthy or diseased social organism. Rosser, writing in the 18405, marks the beginning of the distinctively German school of economics, repudiating classical eeonomics in favor of the shiny of the historical development of economic iristihzi-ions. Weber himself was, above all, just such a German historical institutional economist,

which should be borne in mind when considering his position on the Metliodenstreit that makes up the background of his methodological essays. The ilfletliocievistreit was, in fact, a debate within economics, set off by the Austrian Carl Mengei-'s revival of neoclassical economics, which occasioned a furious attack by Gustav Schinoller, the leader of the historicalfinstitulional sdiool. Weber not only sides with Schmoller,

bolstering his position with Rickert's neo-Kantianism, but purities Rosche1"s style of economics of its vestigial Hegelianism of "spiritual" stages of development. Weber even uses Mandsrn to attack Roschcr's concept of the Volksgeist: "From the point. of view of the contemporary Marx-oriented conception, it is seltevidenl that the development of a Volk is to be understood as dehzririiried by these typical economic stages"

(190861977;76}. But Weber only wished to play off one-sided idealism against onesided materialism; in his view, any systematic thought distorts the inexhaustible

variety of reality. Weber directed this in particular against any rlerluctive system of general principles, the most prominent examples he was combating were, of' course, classical and neoclassical economies, although evolutionary sociology of the Spencer type aLso fell under its ban.


Introduction against previous selections from his treasure chest is not that they have been one~sided but only that they have chosen some of his lesser contributions and left some of the most important. Ideas are important merely for what understanding of the world we can get from them, and to the systematic extension of such knowledge I should be happy to subordinate all else. Weber had certain strengths that make him still our greatest resource as a sociologist. One is that, of all the great sociologists, he was by far the most historically comparative. Marx certainly had very large intellectual ambitions, but in fact virtually all of his analysis was done of the economic history of northwester Europe, and his scat~ tered references to other societies are neither systematically thought through nor comprehensive. Durkheim, on the other hand, had a clear sense of the importance of comparative historical evidence for sociology. He stated that such comparisons constituted the main plication of the method of concomitant variation characteristic of experimental science; for him, historical comparisons played for the sociologist a "role analogous to that of the microscope in the order of physical realities" (quoted in likes, 1973:4o4). But Durkheim himself knew far too little history to follow his own recommendation. For history he substituted static anthropological comparisons of tribal societies a cImice that has left its legacy by nearly monopolizing the more formal scientific part of comparative analysis; see, for example, Murdock (1967).2 Durkheim was particularly deficient in comparative understanding of politics and economic instr lulions, especially since the rise of Lhe large-scale state. This was, of course, where Weber shone. Despite their extreme methodological differences, Weber was





Comparative sociology has suffered the consequence of a strong anthropological bias toward tribal societies and against the large-scale historical states that made up Weber's subject matter. This bias has been exacerbated by the methodological dogma

that the search for general laws requires a solution to "Calton's problem," the possibility that similarities in the social structures of various societies were due not to structural causes but merely to the fact that the traits in question diffused from nearby societies. The answer generally accepted has been to choose samples of

societies remote from each other in space; such societies are almost always tribal because large-scale historical empiles are notoblv norrisolated and "contaminated" be zliffusiun. 6118 imnk- result has been that comparative analysis gives the illusion that social structures leaped directly from tribal to "modern" forms one of the main


sources of simplistic fallacies about industrial society such as have been exposed by the recent family history. In fact, "Calton's problem" is an absurdity; all societies are affected by diffusion, and Murdock-style "world samples" simply pretend it doesrl't exist by systematically excluding all possible data on how the diffusion might have occurred. The real problem is not to find mythically isolated Si icietiee for comparison, but to develop


theory of }ust how the larger "external" context of societies affects

their internal traits. A moments thought will indicate Mat this is hardly an automatic result, what diffuses and what does not is hardly indicated in any of the meth-

odological beliefs popular among cornparativists.


Introduction in the ideal position to carry out Durldleim's program of showing by comparative analysis the causal conditions underlying large-scale soda] structures. Moreover, there is more than a hint that Weber himself got more from his comparative studies than would have been allowed inside the straitjacket of his philosophy of ideal types. For these ideal types are not merely a kind of Kantian universals through which we see the historical flux. Ideal types, like other complex concepts, themselves contain the embryo of scientific generalizations. Categories such as charismatic, traditional, and rational-legal legitimation do not exist merely for the sake of labeling and classifying history; they are ernbedded in a larger network of concepts and in an image of how they work The three types of legitimation, for example, are related to another set of ideal types: Weber's concepts of organization (mainly

political organization). Nor does bureaucracy stand by itself as an isolated ideal type; it is part of the set (1) bureaucracy, (2) patrimonial organization (with its relatives, patriarchism, sultanism, feudalism, etc.), and (3) the u institutionalized retinue of followers (one might say, "social movement") of a charismatic leader. Thus the routinization of charisma is not merely a psychological or cultural transformation from feelings of charisma into either traditional or rational-legal authority; it is part of a process of organizational transformation in

which the original social movement, through the organizational impetus of its own success, acquires property and hence becomes transformed into either bureaucracy or patrirnonialism (or mixtures and variants thereof). One could go farther and show how Weber's famous dimer sons of stratification class, status, and power, with their less familiar sub-types see Wiley, 1967) - are themselves meshed in a larger explanatory scheme. Since much of this comes out in the chapters to follow, l will limit myself to mentioning here that the "status" dimension is a

cnicial one in Weber's scheme. It is the ares in which he made his most famous contributions: the importance of religion, both in economics and in politics; the diversifying of the Menden class scheme with status groups, which gives the theoretical potential for treating ethnicity and sex, problems that have remained intractable from the Marxian viewpoint (as well as loom most others). But status is closely linked with legitimacy, the dynamic element in Weber's political scheme; it is also linked with authority, the center of his sociology of organizations, and with monopolization of market opportunities, which is key to his treatments of economics and of social class. Weber's categories, in other words, do us relatively little service if we confine them to the doctrinal role of ideal types. Whatever Weber's


Introduction own feelings about the matter tum out to have been at various stages of his life, it is apparent to me that his ideas are robust and burst the seams of the historicism and idealism he strove so mightily to defend. Weber's historical comparisons, then, are among his great strengths, and a major reason why we continue to go back to him. They underlie his sheerly intellectual attraction, since Weber obviously lacks the kind of political appeal that draws people to Marx. Another of Weber's strengths is his capacity for breaking through normal modes of understanding. He is full of unexpected insights and subterranean connections, although many of them have proved too forbidding for most readers attempting to dig through the unacctlstomeri historical examples from which Weber induced (and constructed) his generalizations. Weber's Protestant ethic is, of course, a sufficiently well-known instance of digging through one institutional realm, the economic, to find a seemingly alien one beneath, religion. But this remains a superficial example. One might even lay out Weber's major insights as an extension of this overtuniing of the obvious. Weber's threefold scheme - class, status, and party (or economics, culture, and politics) echoes throughout his works. Ile is multidimensional in every respect. One might say that a vulgar version of Weber is to stress the status dimension (religion, culture, values) as underlying all else. Thus capit alis is but an offshoot of Christianity; stratification, of a status hierarchy; and politics, of legitimacy. A more complex version would be the route taken (to a certain extent) during his middle period by Talcott Parsons (1g5r; Parsons and Shits, 1951), in which certain analytic dimensions (in Parsons's case, four rather than three) are applied to every so that each has its functional specialization, as well as containing within itself all of the other dimensions. (Thus religion has a political aspect and an economic aspect; politics, a religious aspect; etc.) I regard this as a mode of scholastficizing, and a diversion from constructing a genuinely explanatory and dynamic theory. But, for purposes of exposition, something like an "exposé" reinterpretation of Weber's three main dimensions might be facetiously used as a guidepost.



That is to say, one might "uncover" the underlying reality of these institutions as follows' (1) Religion is "really" economics: (2) politics is "really" religion; (3) economics is "readly" politics.

Religion as economics Weber is famous, of course, for arguing that religion provided the underpinnings of capitalism. And this is true, I shall argue, in a



broader sense than that of the early Protestant-ethic thesis. But religion is economic in other respects as well. When Weber analyzes churches, he points above all to their economic organization: not in the sense that Chu rches must rest upon this or that form of surrounding economy but, rather, that a church itself is an organization that has certain material requisites for its survival. The forms of religion change with its material resources. The principal ground for the routirtization of religious charisma is the acquisition of property and sources of income (i.e., regular sources of support) for the religious specialists; how these properties are organized (here one may think of the economics of Buddhist temples, Islamic madrasahs, Christian bishops, or Protestant congregations) is a crucial determinant of the larger religion.3 Of course, religion is not merely, much less "really" or "ultimately," economics. But that unnatural slant gives us the proper position from which to see one of the crucial dynamics of world history, and a distinctively Weberian viewpoint. Within Weber's multidimensionality, religion occupies a privileged place for the analysis of capitalism in particular. The first step in professional sophistication is to 'show how complicated things really are; but this remains only the first step. Multidimensionality and complexity can end up merely

muddying our picture of the world to unintelligibility. That is why the higher stage of scholarly insight is to point to a guiding thread through the labyrinth. In the chapters of Part I of this book, grouped under the rubric "Economics/' religion gives us that guiding thread. Chapter 2,

"Weber's Last Theory of Capitalism," is a systematic outline of the full theory of the institutional characteristics and social prerequisites for the emergence of capitalism. 'Ihe picture that emerges is predominantly institutional; apparently "free-floating" religious ethics, ideas of predestination, and the like fall into their proper places as part of a set of instihitional patterns linking status communities, religious organizations, and the rational-legal state. The picture here is multidimensional, with a vengeance. Nevertheless, its skeleton consists of two long chains of historical conditions: one producing a particular kind of balance in the political sphere that can either regulate or plunder the producive economy; the other producing the social net3

To give a modem application: One reason that the Catholic Church has maintained a continuing presence, despite the erosion of its community support in recent decades, is because its vast property holdings keep the institution going through "hard times." Given this viable organizational base, it seems only a matter of time before religious leaders emerge who make the "reforms" that regain its ideological appeal in

some constituency. l owe this observation to Ioseph R. Gusfield.


Introduction works and relationships that allow for a maximally dynamic capitalistic market, Both causal chains are crucially cfependcnt on religion. lt is the organizational side ofc religion that has made possible the rise of the bureaucratic state and, more remotely, the civic forms underlying a business-oriented legal system. And it is religion that reorganizes primal kin and ethnic communities so that they cease to be barriers to rationalized trade and labor, and instead become status systems rewarding rationalized economic success. When we go on to make a concrete application of this model, we find ourselves even more obviously immersed in religion. "The Weberian Revolution of the High lviiddle Ages" is a phenomenon that I believe Weber would have discovered if he had lived long enough to complete his comparative studies of the world religions. For modern historiography now has abundantly documented what was scarcely visible in Weber's day- a full-fledged economic boom in the Europe of A.D. 1050-1300. My argument is that the institutional prerequisites of capitalism fell into place then. This theme is in keeping with the general line of revisionist economic history of recent decades, which finds many of the traits formerly thought to be associated with industrialism (e.g., family structures, property relationships) already present several centuries earlier. The boldest step along this line has been the claim of Macfarlane (1978) that modern individualism was already in existence in the zoos (though perhaps only in England). My argument differs by stressing the "Weberian" point that the transformations of the High Middle Ages are not basically cultural, but institutional; and that the capitalism of the Middle Ages was above all the capitalism of the Church. That is to say, the secular ECUFIOmy, which was apparent enough in merchant cities like Genoa, Florence, and Venice, remained essentially a prernodern "merchants" capitalism" and as such had no very deep or lasting effects upon European institutions. Weber drew upon the scholarship of his time, concentrated primarily on this Mediterranean economy, whereas the new revisionist historiography has uncovered d different world in rural northern Europe. The key to this world, in my opinion, has not yet been recognized: it was the economy of the monastic "revolution" that in many ways marks the beginning and end points of the High Middle Ages. The rationalized capitalism that emerged was, above all, that of the dynamic monastic movements, and the appropriately regulatory bureaucratic state that went along with it was not the secular states but the Papacy in the period when it made a bid for theocratic power over all of Christendom . The argument must wait for details later in this book. It can be


Introduction pointed out, though, that the Weberian religious theme can be elaborated in several directions. The downfall of the medieval economy, I will suggest, was linked with religious politics, which is to say, with the failure of theocracy and the decline of the Papacy. The Reformation, which Weber (and so many others) took as the beginning point of modern capitalism, rather appears as the end point of one cycle in the larger world economy, and the beginning of another. Weber also bolstered his argument by comparisons of the other great world reIigions. China has been the closest competitor to Europe for an approach to rationalized capitalism.; its technological developments, which led no farther in the Orient but which vitalized European

growth, have often been remarked upon, although rarely explained. I attempt to show that Weber could have followed the logic of his own institutional analysis of capitalism farther, to uncover a crucial himing point in the social history of China: the crisis of Chinese Buddhism. For Buddhism, as cm institutional form, had a monastic economy that played much the same role in medieval China (especially the northern dynasties, about s o . 4o0-581, the Sui 581-618, and the T'ang, 618-goo) as Christianity did in Europe. I suggest that the vicissitudes of religious politics in China, especially the increasingly successful Confucian counterattack during the late T'ailg and Sung (960-1279), undermined the protocapitalist structure of China and eventually deflected it from a capitalist route. The whole historiography of China, I would suggest, is overlaid with scarcely noticed religious bias. Weber himself, like most Chinese historians and the Westerners who draw upon them, tended to regard Confucianism as the archetypal religion of China, with a symbiotic Taoism providing a kind of private spiritual relief from its public formalism. What lends credence to this view is the fact that Confucianism, besides being very ancient, also dominated the bureaucratic examination system and the Sta to ideology of the most recent dynas-

ties (Ming, 1368-1644, and Ching, 1644-1911). But in between the Han (102 8c.-A.o. 220) and Sung (963-1279> one would have to say that medieval China was above all a Buddhist society. That is especially true of the innovative and state-building dynasties of the north (ca. 400-618), and. the politics of the 'Fang and early Sung tended to be a religious struggle - a kind of Confucian CounterReformation fought, by and large successfully, against Buddhism. The differing fates of East and West, I am going to suggest, can be placed upon the balance of their contrasting religious politics. Thus far, we follow Webe1"s sociology in order to illuminate history, quite in keeping with his own preferences. But in the process certain more abstract points turn up. 'W'cber"s economic theory bears


Introduction upon the problem of technology, a topic that seems the antithesis of the theme l am inputting to him. Technology for us seems to have the quality of brute tact and sheer functional imperative. Ferhaps this is because there is no real sociological explanation of technology, although it plays a central role as an independent variable in many treatments of comparative social structure and social change. Technology is the great .deus ex machine of sociology, perhaps even a mysterious zrzacliina ex deus. All we seem to know is that technology suddenly appears, or evolves, or diffuses,-sometimes with tremendous consequences like printing or gunpowder setting oft the Gutenberg revolution, the military revolution, and so forth. Technology continues to play this overriding role in currently fashionable "postindustrial" pictures of the computerized electronic society today. Nevertheless, it is possible to derive from Weber a theory of the social conditions for technology. One may take the hint from his remarks in General Economic History on the rationalization of production in eighteenth-century Europe. This analysis makes technology itself part of the realm of the spirit, so to speak. I bring in some tentative historical comparisons in sympathy with this idea, including both the medieval-European and Chinese cases mentioned above, along with a comparison with eras of very low technological change. Finally, I round off Weber's economic sociology with a consideration of a central feature of the modem capitalism: the social organization of money. Norbert Wiley proposes in a brilliant essay (1983) that all great sociologies have an economics attached to them. Thus Parsonian hinctionalism is the sociological counterpart of neoclassical general equilibrium theory, whereas Marx's doctrine is, of course, it variant on Ricardian classical economics. For Weber, Wiley proposes, the equivalent economics is that of john Ma)mard Keynes, because of their underlying assumptions about uncertainty and cognition in the economic realm. I suggest another economist, one very close to

Weber's own milieu: Ioseph Schumpeter. The connection is especially apt in that Schumpeter is probably the most sociologically oriented of economists. The comparison goes beyond Schumpeter's entrepreneur and Weber's Protestant ethic, as indeed it should if the Protestant ethic is only an early and partial aspect of Weber's model of capitalism. What we End, rather, is a convergence on the business organization as a locus for struggle over power and alliance. Weber and Schumpeter are in essential agreement on this. 'Weber adds a special emphasis on the importance of monopolization of opportunities in the labor market, which is surprisingly parallel to Schumpeter's defense of business monopolies as a necessary part of the profit-making system. What Schumpeter es11


pecially adds is a focus of an organizational realm that has received strikingly little attention: the financial world as "the headquarters of the capitalist system, from which orders go out to its individual divisions, and that which is debated and decided there is always in essence the settlement of plans for further development" (Schumpeter, $911i*1961:126). We seem to be pursuing the essence of economics into the political mode, rather than into the religious one. But the connection is just around the corner. Money is another social phenomenon, like technology, about which there is virtually no sociological analysis. If we were to seek the beginnings of such a theory, a likely candidate

would be the analysis of symbolic currencies. We find here the giftexchange systems of Mauss and Levi-Strauss (the latter of whom comes very close to what we are seeldng, by his stress on how symbolic exchanges of women mesh with the hard economic exchanges of goods and services). Even closer to our target are analyses of the cultural capital whose circulation makes up the status networks of ordinary life, and the public currencies of ideology that are the dynamie vehicle for religious and political legitimacy (Bourdieu and Pas» seron, 1970/1977; Collins, 1981b). It is time, perhaps, that we stopped merely using money as a metaphor to explain other things and began to use it as a metaphor to explain the place of money itself. The central dynamics of capitalism, especially its cyclical character and its tendency to crisis, appear to lie in the realm of cultural circulation that constitutes a financial system. The importance of money and that of markets are two essential points of contention between the Weberian and the Marxian world views. I would claim that Weber is right on these points and the Marxians are wrong - or, what comes to the same thing, the Weberian analysis is on a far more fruitful track, capable of moving ahead, whereas Marxism is at an impasse.

Politics as religion On the face of it, the formula of polih'cs as religion, however facetions, seems too great a distortion of Weber's position. I have already

argued that the central feature of Weberian politics is the contest for military power in the world arena. The essence of politics thus seems to be force. Still, there is something to be gained from pursuing our "uncovering" transformation. For, as I show in Chapter 6, "imperialis and Legitimacy: Weber's Theory of Politics, the geopolitical realm is the key to internal politics because of the connection between military force and domestic legitimacy. Weber stresses the point that there is an international arena of status competition, overriding and




Introduction guiding economic considerations in "imperialism." This does not simply leave us with the brute irrationality of war, for there is a logic of status competition underlying the use of force The logic is the same, I would argue, as that underlying the major transformations of the world religions. A demonstration of this is attempted in Chapter 9, "Heresy, Religious and Secular," in which it is argued that the political vicissitudes of churches as organizations are essentially what is involved in heresy disputes. My point is not the kind of reductionism that declares heresy is nothing but a reflection of politics. It is, rather, that religion, as an institution, has its own politics. As Weber stresses, during much of history, religion was so much better organized for politics than the secular realm (to the extent that we can speak of the latter) that secular power-seekers were necessarily drawn into the religious orbit. The point may also be put in a fashion to which Durkheim would have strongly assented: The symbols of religion always represent emotionally committed membership in a social organization. Hence any strong organization must be in essence "religious." The state is among the strongest of organizations precisely because its implied use of force generates the most emotionally committing of all situations. Politics in an important sense is ritual. If it is too much to say that politics is "really" religion, it is scarcely going too far to say that at the dynamic level they are virtually' identical. The set of "uncovering" formulas, if pushed very far, of course breaks clown. If religion is economics and politics is religion, it follows that politics is economics. Indeed, everything in the circle is

everything else. This is the Farsonian position of infinitely subrepeating analytical dimensions. It is tnie, in a sense, but also not necessarily fruitful to pursue this circle too far. It is only worthwhile to expose some significant points: the central role of religion (as organization, not merely ideas) in capitalism; the near identity of the status

dynamics underlying violent politics with those underlying the ritual powers and contentions of religion; and finally, the way in which the

"political" organization of everyday life is a crucial determinant of economic fate, as well as providing its ideological cover.


One could go farther and show that actual military success in battle is to a considerable extent the result 01 a kind of psychological war. Violence is used above all as a rlmal display, aimed at destroying the opposing army's organization while preserving

one's own. Even pure force thus reduces, in an important sense, to the dimension of social ideas and emotions that may be indexed by the realm of "culture," "status," or "religion"


Introcfuctfon Economics as politics

We have already noticed, in the proposed Weber-Schumpeter connection, that business is a realm of "political" manuever. Again, as in the case of religion, this does not mean so much that business people appeal to the state for favors and protection (although, of course, they do that too) as that the realm of business itself, the so-called market, is a sphere of organization with its own political relationships. Schumpeter describes the entreprene ur as an individual driven by the aim of setting up his own prima to sphere of control, the last vestige of independent barorNal power after the rise of the bureaucratic state. But politics always involves alliances, and these are nowhere more apparent than in the financial relationships that are, according to Schumpeter, the essence of capitalism (which he defines as "enterprise carried out with borrowed 1noney"). As in other realms, business alliances do not exclude calculated self~interest, and may oven have it as their core. Both Weber and Schumpeter emphasize that the key to stratification in a market economy is precisely the ability of certain organizations and classes to evade the vicissitudes of the market and find a protected place for themselves within it. Without this, Schumpeter argues, profit could not emerge. (As l shall show, this analytical point, which I call the "Adam Smith paradox," is taken by Marx as the crucial contradiction driving his economic scheme; I think, however, that Marx offers a mistaken resolution of the paradox.) On the level of labor markets, Weber stresses the importance of occupational groups that establish some degree of monopoly over market chances . This not only evades the "Adam Smith paradox" on the level of personal incomes, and hence generates income stratification, it also ties the phenomonen of status groups into the economic realm. Contrary to our usual interpretation, status groups are not the antithesis

of economic class but precisely the way in which stratified classes are able to emerge and maintain themselves. It is t h o u oh the organization of status groups that classes become distinctive entities in the market, instead of parts of the endless (and essentially profit-less) flux of labor with the tides of supply and demand. Thus, by a roundabout way, we come lo the role of culture in economic stratification. Another chapter, on alienation, provides a kind of double "uncovering" of a theme in modern culture. Cultural alienation, according to the Marxian critique, is reducible to the economic relations of capitalism. This analysis, however, is but another form of mystification. The Marxian view of the capitalist economy, with its focus on alienation of workers from the means of production, misses the cen14

Introduction tra] features of capitalist competition for profits, and the dynamics

that produce both expansion and crisis. These dynamics, rather, are to be found in the realm of markets, including the intermeshing of financial and cultural markets I have suggested. Modern Marxism misses the very nature of the power struggles that go O11 in the eco romaic realm. By the same token, it misses the political nature of the slogans of alienation itself. I shall attempt to show that feelings and ideas of alienation emerge precisely through the experience of political mobilization, in its characteristic ritual fonn. Economics, culture, politics constitute a series of "uncoverings." With this, hopefully, we can discard our makeshift formulas of Weberian alchemy, having emerged through them onto solid ground. The organization of this book follows roughly the Weberian trichotomy of economics, politics, and culture. Each is transformed, more or less in the manner indicated. Some parts of these topics remain less transformed, of course. Weber's theory of politics not only gives the consequences of military force for legitimacy but also leads to the more immediate consid elation of what would be an adequate theory of geopolitics. Two chapters attempt to develop this, including a discussion of whether geopolitical principles derived from the agrarian era, Weber's "home base," are applicable to the geopolitics of modern industrialized warfare- As might be expected from our discussion of the dependent role of technology, it turns out that the principles remain valid today. As an illustration of their utility, I shall give an application in the form of what they predict for the future of the Russian Empire in the world today. I also add a fourth rubric: sex. It is, of course, more fashionable now to use the term "gender," but I hold to the traditional one here, for several reasons. Foremost among these is the fact that a Weberian approach to gender centrally emphasizes sexual - that is, erotic


relationships, along with economic ones. Here again the Weberian

approach stresses something that currently popular modes of thought tend to ignore. I shall not attempt to "uncover" the analytical dimensions in the Weberian scheme that might be thought to underlie sexual relationships. But one more familiarly Weberian theme is apparent. As I show in an exegesis of Weber's neglected theory of the family, politics, is a centrally important determinant of those malefemale relationships that make up the legitimate kinship system. My concluding chapter is an attempt at a rather far-flung comparison - of southern Indian, medieval Japan, and medieval Europe to uncover the political dynamics responsible for the first major rise in the modem rights and status of women. The first feminist revolution, in a


sense, can already be found deep in the courtly politics of certain


Introduction special types of agrarian states. An important implication, if the Weberian theory is right, is that the further success of the uirrent feminist movement depends on its continuing to be explicit political. These, I venture to propose, are some central themes of a Weberian

s 'of by. Whether this is a thenticslly Weber is a less interesting question than whether it will prove fruitful. I have some hopes that it is in the spirit of Weber, and that if he were alive he would not be unhappy with the directions in which his thought has been taken.


Part I Economics


Weber's last theory of capitalism

Max Weber had many intellectual interests, and there has been considerable debate over the question of what constitutes the central theme of his lite work. Besides treating the origins of capitalism, Weber dealt extensively with the nature of modernity and of rationality (Tenbruck, 1975; Kalberg, 1979, 1980; Seidman, 1980), and with politics, methodology, and various substantive areas of sociology. Amid all the attention which has been paid to these concerns, one of Weber's most significant contributions has been largely ignored. This is his mature theory of the development of capitalism, found in his last work (1961), General Economic History. This is ironic because Weber's (1930) first major work, Tire Protestant .Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, has long been the most famous of all. The argument that the Calvinist doctrine of predestination gave the psychological impetus for rationalized, entrepreneurial capitalism is only a fragment of Weber's full theory. But many scholars have treated it as Weber's distinctive contribution, or Weber's distinctive fal-

lacy. on the origins of capitalism (et, Tawney, 1938; McClelland, 1961; Samuelsson, 1961; Cohen, 1980). Debate about the validity of this part of Weber's theory has tended to obscure the more [undamental historical and institutional theory which he presented in his later works. The so-called "Weber thesis," as thus isolated, has been taken to be essentially idealist. Weber (193o:90) defines his purpose in The Protestant Ethic as "a contribution to the manner in which ideas become effective forces in history." He {193o:183) polemically remarks against the Marxists that he does not intend to replace a one-sided materiatlistn with its opposite, but his correcting of the balance sheet in this work concentrates largclv on ideal factors. The germ of Weber's institutional theory of capitalism can also be found in The Protestant Reprinted with modifications from American Sociological Review, 45 (1980), bY permission of the American Sociological Association.



Ethic (193o:58, 76).1 But it remained an undeveloped backdrop for his main focus on the role of religious ideas. The same may be said about his (1951; 19521 1g58b) comparative studies of the world religions. These broadened considerably the amount of material on social, economic, and political conditions, but the main theme still stressed that divergent ideas made an autonomous contribution to the emergence of world-transforming capitalism in the Christian West rather than elsewhere in the world.3 Thus, Parsons (1g63; 1967) treats these works as extending the early Weber thesis from Protestantism to Christianity in general, describing an evolution of religious ideas and their accompanying motivational propensities from ancient Iudaisrn up through the secularized achievement culture of the modern United States. From these works, and from (1968) Part II of Economy and Society, it is possible to pull out an extensive picture of institutional [actors which Weber includes in his overall theory of capitalism. But Economy Ami Society is organized encyclopedically, by analytically defined topics, and does not pull together the theory as a whole. There is only one place in Weber's works where he brings together the full theory of capitalism as a historical dynamic. This is in the General Economic History, and, especially, in the 7o-page section comprising Fart IV of that work. These lectures, delivered in the winter and spring of 1919zo, before Weber's death that summer, are Weber's last word on the subject of capitalism. They are also the most neglected of his works; General Economic History is the only one of Weber' s major works that remains out of print today, both in English and in German. One important change in the General Economic History is that Weber pays a good deal more attention to Marian themes than previously . This is a significant diff hence from the anti-l'vla1'xist comments scattered through The Protestant Ethic (e.g., pp. 55-56, 61, 90--91, 183). In the General Ecorwrrzic History, Weber reduces the ideal factor to a relal

The list of institutional eharacteirishrs given on pp. 21-25 of the Englishlanguage


edition of The Protestant Ethic (1930), however, are not in the 1904-5 original, but are from an introduction written in 1920 {198o;D(-x}. Cf. the closing words of The Religion of China: "To be sure the basic characteristics of the 'nlenlality,' in this case practical attitudes towards the world, were deeply co

determined by political and economic destinies. Yet, in view of their autonomous laws, one can hardly fail to ascribe to these attitudes effects strongly counteractive

to capitalist development" [1951:249), and of The Religima it Indie: "However, for the plebeian strata no ethic of everyday Life derived from its rationally formed missionary prophecy. The appearance of such in the Ucciclent, however - above all, in the Near East - with the extensive consequences borne with in, was conditioned by.» highly particular historical constellations without which, despite differences of natural conditions, development there could easily have taken the course typical of

Asia, particularly of India" [1g58b:343).


Weber's last theoq;

of capftafisrn

lively small place in his overall scheme. During this same period, to be sure, Weber was preparing a new introduction and footnotes for the reissue of The Protes frmt Ethic among his collected religious writings, in which he defended his original thesis about Calvinism. But his claims for its importance in the overall scheme of things were not large, and the well-rounded model which he presents in General Economic History does not even mention the doctrine of predestination. Instead, what we find is a predominantly institutional theory, in which religious organization plays a key role in the rise of modern capitalism but especially in con] unction with particular forms of political organization.

In what follows, I will attempt to state systematically Weber's nla~ tune theory of capitalism, as it appears in the Gerremi Economic History, bolstered where appropriate by the building blocks presented in Economg and Society. This argument involves a series of causes, which we will trace backward, from the most recent to the roost remote. This model, I would suggest, is the most comprehensive general theory of the origins of capitalism that is yet available. It continues to stand up well in comparison with recent theories, including Wallenstein's (1974) historical theory of the capitalist and world-system. Weber himself was primarily concerned with the sensitizing concepts necessary for an interpretation of the unique pattern of history and, in his methodological writings, he disavowed statements in the form of general causal principles (of. Burger, 1976). Nevertheless, Weber's typologies contain implicit generalizations about the effects of institutional arrangements upon each other, and statements of cause-and-effect abound in his substantive writings. There is nothing to prevent us from stating his historical picture of changing institutional forms in a more abstract and generalized manner than Weber did himself. Webe1"s model continues to offer a more sophisticated basis for a

theory of capitalism than any of the rival theories of today. I put forward this formalization of Weber's mature theory, not merely as an appreciation of one of the classic works of the past, but to make clear the high-water mark of sociological theory about capitalism. Weber's last theory is not the last word on the subject of the rise of capitalism, but if we are to surpass it, it is the high point from which we ought to build.

The components of rationalized capitalism Capitalism, says Weber (1961:2o7-8, 260) is the provision of human needs by the method of enterprise, which is to say, by private busi-


Ecorwmi's nesses seeking profit. It is exchange carried out for positive gain, rather than forced contributions or traditionally fixed gifts or trades. Like all of Weber's categories, capitalism is an analytical concept: .capitalism can be found as part of many historical economies, as far back as ancient Babylon. It became the indispensable form for the provision of everyday wants only in Western Europe around the middle of the nineteenth century. For this large-scale and economically predominant capitalism, the key is the "rational permanent enterprise" characterized by "rational capital accounting."

The concept of "rationality" which appears so often in Weber's works has been the subject of much debate. Marxist critics of capitalism, as well as critics of bureaucracy, have attacked Weber's alleged glorification of these social forms (e.g., Hirst, 1976). On the other hand, Parsons (1947), in his long introduction to the definitional section of Economy arid Society, gives "rationalization" both an idealist and an evolutionary bent, as the master trend of world history, involving an inevitable upgrading of human cognitive and organizational capacities. Tenbruck (1975) claims the key to Weber's works is an inner logic of rational development found within the realm of religious solutions to the problem of suffering. It is clear that Mieber himself used the term "rationalism" in a number of different senses.3 But for his institutional theory of capitalist development, there is only one sense that need concern us. The "rational capitalistic establishment," says Weber (1961:zo*7), "is one with capital account ting, that is, an establishment which determines its income yielding power by calculation according to the methods of modern bookkeeping and the striking of a balance." The key term is calcufabiiity; it occurs over and over again in those pages. What is distinctive about modern, large~scale, "rational" capitalism in contrast to earlier, partial forms - is that it is methodical and predictable, reducing all areas of production and distribution as much as possible




In Part I of Economy and Society (written 1918-zo), Weber distinguishes forma] and substantive rationality In 'The Social Psydwlogy of *y of economic action (1968435-6). 96 5 the World Religiorls" (written 1913), Weber {1946:293-4) cleiines three different types of rationelimw (1) a systematic world view based on precise, abstract concepts; (z) practical means-ends calculations; {3) a systematic method, including that of magic or prayer. In The Protestant Ethic (1904-5), Weber {193o:76-73) attacks the notion that the spirit of capitalism is "part of the development of rationalism as a whole," and says he is interested in "the origin. of precisely th e irrational element which lies in this, as in every conception of a cMhng." Kalberg (1980) points out that under one or another of Weber's types of rationality, every action, even the most superstitious, might be called "ratlonal." Kalberg argues that only one type of rationality is relevant for the methodical conduct of affairs.


Weber's last theory of ciapifalism to a routine. This is also Weber's criterion for calling bureaucracy the most "rational" form of organization For a capitalist economy to have a high degree of predictability, it must have certain characteristics. The logic of Weber's argument is first to describe these characteristics; then to show the obstacles to them that were prevalent in virtuallyI all societies of world history until recent centuries in the West; and, finally, by the method of comparative analysis, to show the social conditions responsible .for

their emergence. According to his argument, the components of "rationalized" capitalism are as follows:

There must be private appropriation of all the means of production, and their concentration under the control of entrepreneurs. Land, buildings, machinery, and materials must all be assembled under a common management, so that decisions about their acquisition and use

can be calculated with maximal efficiency. All these factors must be subject to sale as private goods on an open market. This development reaches its maximal scope when all such property rights are represented by commercial instruments, especially shares in ownership which are themselves negotiable in a stock market. Within this enterprise, capital accounting is optimized by a tedinology which is "reduced to calculation to the largest possible degree" (1961:208}. lt is in this sense that mechanization is most significant for the organization of large-scale capitalism. Labor must be free to move about to any work in response to conditions of demand. Weber notes that this is a formal and legal freedom, and that it goes along with the economic compulsion of workers to sell their labor on the market. Capitalism is impossible without a propertyless stratum selling its services "under the compulsion of the whip of hunger" (1961:209), for only this completes a mass market system for the factors of production which makes it possible to clearly

calculate the costs of products in advance. 4

It is plain that Weber (i968:S5-6) is referring to what in Economy and Society he calls "formal" rationality, efficiency based on quantitative calculation of means, rather than "substantive" rationality, the adequacy of actions for meeting ultimate valuesSuch values could be criteria of economic welfare, whether maxima] production, quality of life, or a socialist economic distribution. or they could be ethical or religious values. Weber makes in clear that formal and substantive rationalihg can diverge widely, especially in his late political writings about the dangers of bureaucracy (1y46:77-1z8; 1968:1393-1415). Weber liirnself tended to defend the formal rationality of modem capitalism as coinciding to a fair degree with substantive rationality in meeting the value of maximizing the economic welfare of the populalion at large (1968:1o8-9). It goes without saying that this is an empirical, not an analytical iucigment.


Economics Trading in the rnarfret must riot be limited by irratioruzi restrictions. That is to say, noneconomic restrictions on the movement of goods or of any of the factors of production must be minimized. Such restrictions include class monopolies upon particular items of consumption (such as sumptuary laws regulating dress), or upon ownership nr work (such as prohibitions on townspeople owning land, or on knights or peasants carrying on trade; more extensively, caste systems in general). Other obstacles under this heading include transportation difficulties, warfare, and robbery - which make long-distance trading hazardous and unreliable. Finally, there must be calculable law, both in adjudication and in public arirnOtistration. Laws must be couched in general terms applicable to all persons, and administered in such a way as to make the enforcement of economic contracts and rights highly predictable. Such a legal system is implicated in i n s t of the above Chara cteristics of rational capitalism: the extension of private property rights over the factors of production; the subdivision and easy transferability of such rights through financial instruments and banking operations; formal freedom for laborers; and legally protected markets. The picture that Weber gives us, then, is of the institutional foundations of the market as viewed by neoclassical economics. He sees the market as providing the maximal amount of calculability for the individual entrepreneur. Goods, labor, and capital flow continuously to the areas of maximal return; at the same time, competition in all markets reduces costs to their minimum. Thus, prices serve to summarize all the necessary information about the optimal allocation of resources for maximizing profit, on this basis, entrepreneurs can most

reliably make calculations for long-term production of large amounts of goods. "To sum up," says Weber (1961°209), "it must be possible to conduct the provision for needs exclusively on the basis of market opportunities and the calculation of net income."

It is, of course, the model of the laissez-faire capitalist economy that Weber wishes to ground. At the extreme, this is an unrealistic view of any economy that has ever existed. Weber treats it as an ideal type and, hence, in a fuller exposition would doubtless have been prepared to see it as only partially realized even in the great capitalist takeoff period of the nineteenth century. But it is worth noting that a cn'tique of Weber along these lines could certainly not be a classical Marxian one. The central dynamic of capitalism in Marx's theory, in fact, depends even more immediately than Weber's on the unread stricted competitiveness of the open market for all factors of production (cf. Sweezy, 1942). And Weber and Marx agree in claiming that 24

Weber's last theory

of capitalism

the initial breakthrough to an industrial society had to occur in the form of capitalism. Thus, although Weber may have a personal bias toward the neoclassical market economy, both as analytical model and a 5 political pref fence, this would give no grounds for a critique of the adequacy of his explanation of this phase of world history. Even for a later period, Weber is hardly dogmatic. As we shall see, he recognizes the possibility of socialism emerging, once capitalism has matured although he does not admire the prospect - and he even gives some indications of the forces that might produce in. Like German and Austrian non-Marxist economists of his generation, Weber includes socialism within his analytical scheme.


Webber's model of the modern economy is particularly striking with regard to the concept of the "industrial revolution." For it is not mechanization per se that is the key to the economic transformation, despite the far-reaching consequences of shifts from agrarian to inanimate-energy-based technologies (of. Lenski, 1966). In Weber's scheme, technology is essentially a dependent variable. The key eco comic characteristic of mechanization is that it is feasible only with mass production (Weber, 1g61:129, 247), The costs of even simpler machines such as steam-powered looms would make them worthless without a large-scale consumers' market for cloth, as well as a largescale producers' market in wool or cotton. Similar considerations ap-ply a fortiori to machinery on the scale of a steel rolling mill. But largescale production is impossible without a high degree of predictability that markets will exist for the products, and that all the factors of produdinn will be forthcoming at a reasonable cost. Thus, mochanization depends on the prior emergence of all the institutional factors described above. Weber does not elaborate a systematic theory of technological innovation, but it would be possible to construct one along these lines. He does note that all the crucial inventions of the period of industrial

takeoff were the result of deliberate efforts to cheapen the costs of production (1961:225-6, z31). 'these efforts took place because previous conditions had intensified the capitalist pursuit of profits. The same argument could be made, although Weber did not make it, in

regard to the search for methods to improve agricultural production that took place in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The

"green revel ution" which preceded (and made possible) the industrial revolution was not a process of mocha nization (agricultural mechanization took place only in the late nineteenth century) but was, more simply, the application of capitalist methods of cost accounting to hitherto traditional agriculture. Thus, it is the shift to the


Econorrlics calculating practices of the capitalist market economy which makes technological innovation itself predictable, rather than, as previously, an accidental factor in economic life (1961::z31).5 The causal chain

What are the social preconditions for the emergence of capitalism as thus described? Note, first of all, that economic life, even in the most prosperous of agrarian societies, generally lacked most of these traits. Property systems frequently tied land ownership to aristocratic status, while com-

mercial occupations were often prohibited to certain groups and monopolized by others. The labor force was generally unfree - being

either slaves or tied to the land as serfs. Technologies of mass production hardly existed. The market was generally limited either to local areas or to long-distance trade in luxuries, due to numerous nearconfiscatory tax barriers, unreliable and varying coinage, warfare,

robbery, and poor transportation. And legal systems, even in literate states, tended to be characterized by patrimonial or magical-religious procedures, by differential application to different social groups and by different localities, and by the practices of officials seeking private gain. Reliable financial transactions, including the operation of a banking system relatively free from political interference and plundering, were particularly handicapped by these conditions. The social preconditions for large-scale capitalism, then, involved the destruction of the obstacles to the free movement or economic transfer of labor, land, and goods. Other preconditions were the creation of the institutional supports for large-scale markets, especially the appropriate systems of property, law, and finance. These are not the only preconditions of capitalism, but, specifically, Weber is seeking the organizational forms that made capitalism a

world-transforming force in the West but not elsewhere. By a series of comparisons, Weber shows that a number of other factors that have been advanced to account for the Western takeoff cannot have been crucial. Against Sombart, he points out that standardized mass pro-

duction for war cannot have been decisive, for although a good deal 5

Weber does mention "rational science and in connection with it a rational technology" (1961;z3z) as one of the features of the West important for modern capitalism. On the other hand he says: "It is true that most of the inventions of the 18th century were not made in a scientific manner. . . . The comwrtion of industry with modern science, especially the systematic work of the laboratories, beginning with

Justus von Liebig [i.e., Circa 183,o], enabled industry to become what it is today and so brought capitalism to its full development." On the balance, I think science comes out as a secondary factor in the mdsted, including financing and money Financing existed, financing of wars, revolurevolu farming, sale of offices, and trade monoptions, and party leaders, leaders, tax sons, monoptax farming; olies (Weber, 1922"1968:1646). The existence of money is thus crucial 1922/1968164-6). for any form of capitalism. capitalism. Modern capitalism is unique in that it is oriented to profit from from the continuous production production of goods or from the bodies, and from specula~ continuous financial financial operations of political bodies, son ill in securities and promotional financing financing of new and promotional new enterprises. "Apart capitalistic enterprise, the modern modern economic "Apart from the rational capitalistic economic order is unique order unique in its monetary system system and in the commercialization enterprises through the various forms se~ of ownership shares in enterprises forms. of seensuing discussion is a tycurities" (Weber, 1922/1968:166). Weber's ensuing pology of kinds kinds of money, money, with little concern for its dynamic aspects aspects except in an excursus on a topical question of monetary policy and inflation (pp. 166-93)It is apparent 166-93). lt apparent that finance finance is central to the Weberian economic picture, picture, though we are left on our own to fill in its organizational politics, politics.


It is surprising surprising how little the financial realm, given its importance, has been studied in social science. Economists tend to keep it in a separate separate compartment. Marxists follow a long-standing polemic by monetarists and refuse refuse to grant realm any Marx against against inonetarists grant the financial financial realm independent singificance. some sociological independent singificance. Nevertheless, some sociological pictures are available (Mayer, 1976, Beveridge). Primarily these are concerned with banks, although by extension the same kind of processes are likely to be found throughout throughout the modem community: the modern financial community: insurance companies, companies, the mortgage and loan companies, stock companies, the stock market, pension and trust funds, as well as the governmental treaslicensing agencies. Together Together they constitute the ernemuries, tax, and licensing pirical capital as an organized social social phenomenon. pirical core core of capital


Weber and Schumpeter What theoretical consequences consequences can we draw from a view of the modern with limited limited data, certain modem organization of finance? finance? Even with things stand out. Money is part of a network of interorganizational interorganizatrional communication, communication, but of at the same same time it is embedded in relations relations of a strikingly persons] personal sort. communities leap leap to the sociological sociological strikingly sort. Status communities eye on almost 1976). almost every page of empirical reportage (see Mayer, 1976). New banks become successful or not, depending on the loans their officers can generate, in interviews, "knowing the comm community" nity" is the slogan slogan under under which their their success is ascribed. Modest loans loans to littleknown known walk-in customers customers are scrutinized at length; length; huge huge loans to well-known corporation executives are okayed with a minimum of investigation. peer into investigation. Bankers proudly peer into the lives of small borrowers ("I expect him to undress completely. It's like a doctor" [Mayer, ("l [Mayer 1976:254]) while kowtowing to the ("Banks will send lending the big ones ("Banks lending officers around around to big borrowers to chat about this and that, have have a drink with friends, drink friends, and make make sure the number still looks right" [Mayer, 1976:2721). [Mayer We have, in short, a system of power power relations relations in which which deference is exacted according to one's relative standing standing in the community. communityThere is a mutually mutually reinforcing connection between two two orders of stratification groups and economic domination. stratification - personal status groups Banks do not merely assess entrepreneurial schemes against a total primarily on O11 the competitive allocation of resources; they assess assess them primarily degree of personal trust they have in the individuals individuals involved. involved. Given Harrison White's model model of businesses as cliques of mutually monitormonitoring organizations, this emphasis emphasis on personal connections connections perhaps represents economic rationality. rationality. But whatever its Es rationalitfin represents rationality in a situation of risk and uncertainty, nation uncertainty, itii- nevertheless means that those who culture and outlook will do most of the financial share a common culture business syssys transacting. The status group, in short, dominates dominates the business tem. And because the financial system is the key tO to business power power, realm . the politics of status groups groups rules the economic realm. inside Inside organizations, line authority dis authority is essentially the power to disorganic pense or withhold withhold money. If it is problematic in the real life of organ zations, it is only because the people who who constitute the authority network are engaged in a game of social communications communications to keep the network together together and themselves themselves in favorable positions within it, and network favorable positions that means drawing - the "converser "conversational that drawing on their their status status culture tonal capital," as I have called it elsewhere (Collins, 198ra). 1981a). Even talk about financial prospects prospects and "realities" "realities" nevertheless nevertheless operates as cultural exchange, and hence hence as a currency that that can be exchanged, exchanged, if the social rate of exchange exchange is right, right, for the financial power of hard financial power hard cash (or easy easy credit). "thus, Thus, inside inside organizations the politics of organized interper~



Economics Kantar, oral communities and of line authority authority are tightly linked (of. Kantor, sonal r977;164-205; Collins, 1979:22-72). 1977:164-205; 1979:22.-72). organizations, it also is the key link that If money money is power within organizations, makes interorganizational interorganizational relations relations into into a power Business makes power hierarchy. hierarchy. Business enterprises are linked to particular sources of capital. The large corporations are tied to the big banks, whereas small businesses get their rations arc their banks funds from smaller "country" banks. Regionally Reionally powerful lead banks loans - not only to busiorganize consortiums consorhlums to finance large-scale loans ness but also to municipalities at home, and entire states abroad - a circumstance that has led some Marist Marxist analysts to the conclusion that a "fiscal crisis of the state" is built into the structure of governfinancing (O'Conner, element in this mental financing (O'Conner, 1973). The important element argument is that that governments are themselves economic units (employing a sizable segment segment of the work force, and dispensing dispensing as much as half of the total such are subject subject to the same financial financial total GNP) and as such politics that ties together the rest of the business realm. realm. The connection between the capitalist class and the state, in this perspective, is hardly hidden hidden or mysterious. Debates about "struc"structuralist" and "instl'umentalist" "instrumentalist"' interpretations of the state are beside the point, empirically, capitalism does not have to depend depend on the point, empirically, machinations or the insight of politicians, nor does it rest on any teleological concessions to teleological rationality of the system to make welfare welfare concessions protect itself. What exists in fact is a network held held together by the financial system. The business world world is tied together hierarchically hierarchically through the size of the financial institutions upon which each each enterprise strucprise can draw. The financial world, in turn, is hierarchically hierarchically structhousands of small and medium banks, organized tured from the thousands around lead banks banks that act as regional clearinghouses, through the clearinghouses, up through structures dozen giant banks at the top (in the United States; other structures exist elsewhere) that stand in close relation exist that stand relation with the financial financial agencies agencies of the federal government. It is through these huge banks that the government exercises financial policy and releases its own funds. The government is committed committed to never allowing allowing these banks to fail, pregovernment precisely because they are the center for the entire economy. The struestruc-ture of capitalism is shored up by the government government itself, because because the government ends (as well government needs a viable financial system for its own ends as to prevent unrest). Left-wing revolution is particularly prevent political unrest). particularly difficult because beau se any political moves that disturb disturb the financial system about economic chaos, which in turn undermines undermines the political bring about


support for a left governrnent.8 govemmentg 8a

See Polanyi (1944) for examples examples of clownfalls downfalls of revolutionary revolutionary regimes regimes by this process process See Polanyi in the 19205; examples could be multiplied multiplied from America and 19205; many further further examples from Latin America

1 38 138

Weber and Schumpeter Schurrzpeter The overall structure of any economy may be seen as 'da hierarchy of social networks. Throughout, there are the dual aspects of appropriation of opportunities opportunities by restricted networks that exercise mutual mutual monitoring and sometimes sometimes coercive power, but also the competitive monitoring competitive adjustments that exist on one level or another. pressures and price adjustments Superordinate markets markets emerge, for mo money, Superordinate ey, credit, credit, and cultural capital, which exert their own dynamics on appropriated opportunities. superordinate market. market. Although it is The financial system is one such superordinate itself structured as a network system par excellence, permeated by groups and acting as the "headquarters "headquarters of the favoritism of status groups capit lism," nevertheless capitalism," markett strucneverth less it is ssubject bject to t a competitive c mpetiti e mark ture. In terms of Harrison White's model, product differentiation italll banks banks and other self hardly exists in finance, since al other financial financial institutions provide provide a homogeneous commodity, commodity, money. money. Thus, banking banking competitive sector today. even though itself can be a hiehlv highly competitive sector (as it is today), even though O J attempt to find sepafinancial institutions monitor one another another and attempt rate niches in particular locales, as well as hierarchically hierarchically inside inside the internal transactions transactions of the monetary system itself. Similarly, the government is a superordinate system of great potential influence influence beernment cause it can both structure and destroy all lower-level organizations and can affect the monetary monetary system through through its own spending and taxation. Nevertheless, governments governments are entrapped entrapped in the competitive-market aspects of any large-scale are-scale network of transactions, transactions, and hence are subject to political shocks crises, infly shocks from financial crises, sonss,, or other economic phenomena they are attempting to control. son -'J I


nature of capitalist development development Conclusion: the nature

The conception of the economy implied in Weber and Schumpeter, and extended by modern network network analysis, is broader than than capitalism in any narrow definition. Schumpeter Schumpeter defines capitalism as "enterprise carried out with borrowed money" and restrict restricts'S its historical appearance to the business cycles that have emerged in Western Euappearance late 17oos. Any such rope since the late such emphasis on a financial "headrope since quarters" for capitalism would, of course, rule out the capitalist elsewhere in in repaint recent decades. monetary phenomenon of inflation inflation seems seems to be elsewhere decades. The monetary crucially implicated implicated in a theory of revolutions revolutions and especially counterrevolutions. A crucially fLlll~scale comparative .Full-scale comparative study of inflation inflation in different different historical periods, periods, and its its politi~ political consequences, would would be instructive. Given Given the frequent connection connech'on of inflation inflation rewars, and of wars wars (and with wars, (and military military overextension) overextension) with with political political downfall downfall of regimes (see Chap*er Chapter 6), the causal combination of the ginxes (see causal dynamics may likely be a combination the internal politics politics of the business system, with the structure of external geopolitics among states.


Ecorzorn2'cs Economzts

nature nature of medieval Europe or China. Yet these economies clearly had sectors focused on in capitalist characteristics. At least least in the core core sectors Chapter 3, they were dynamic economies organized organized around around corporate entrepreneurs. Their technological innovativeness was of the sort the sort that seems to be the result of ongoing economic expansion. expansion. Moreconclusions of our general general overview of technological technological over, one of the the conclusions innovation in Chapter Chapter 4 is that geographical movement, movement, whether whether expansion Europe or south China, pansion into frontiers frontiers like those those of northern northern Europe south China, establishment. of long-distance links that foster "diffusion," is or the establishment equivalent to the process of expanding equivalent expanding competition within within a given economy; both foster innovation of techniques and products, and economy, both open up new markets. From a larger perspective, the key to economic growth is the creation of new new forms and areas areas of production, however this may be done. The growth growth of the market and its "demand" is a result of this process, not a precondition. precondition. should regard the nature nature of capitalism capitalism as a historical conWe should tinuum. The banks were not the headquarters headqua rters of capitalism in Buddhist dhist China or medieval Christian Europe, although early financial institutions were gradually gradually developed in the monasteries institutions were monasteries themselves. themselves. The Church did act as a storer of wealth and a source of loans, and in SchumSchumeventually as an agency agency for speculation. In eventually for investment and speculation. turning point when banks banks not only loan peter's model, model, a key turning point is when loan out money but create new credit, by manipulating the time of repayment SO that many times over. Schuln~ so that existing cash can be lent out many over. For Sehum~ peter, key* to the existence peter, this is the key existence of profit within the economic system. this is precisely precisely what what ardent thanks (such as the temples temples system. But this ancient banks of ancient Greece) did not do; treasure in the form of hard do, they took treasure specie, and lent it in concrete form, without interest interest and without creating any credit expansion in the system (Polanyi, (Polanyi, 1977). It is not when and in what sense the the medieval Buddhist Buddhist and Christian clear when Christian the monastic "banking" practices went beyond this. Nevertheless, by the

time of the early Sung dynasty, monastic ordination certificates were part of a speculative speculative market in financial paper, and there were no doubt other ways in which both Buddhist and Christian church finances least within their nances acted to promote the circulation of credit, credit, at least within their society) . own religious religious economies economies (but also spilling spilling over over into secular society). As Goldstone (1984) has shown for the Western Europe Europe of 15oo165o, the process of growth in markets and occupational specializaspecialization is itself a major cause of monetary monetary inflation, major cause inflation, because because of its effects effects on the inflation the velocity vetodty of circulation. The existence of infla son is a sign of the existence of capitalism, 'Such inflation irlflatifin goes existence capitalism, at least least in some some form. Such along with growth, monetary instruments instruments. . growth, and with the expansion of monetary It is, of course, not alwa*'s a l a * 's economically and its ill effects, effects, economically "healthy," and 140 140

Weber and Schumpeter Weber Schunzpefer especially on government finances, finances, can undermine institutional supports for further capitalist development. that ports development. But that is only to say that unstable system, prone to shocks and crises. Sung capitalism is an unstable should be regarded as an instance of this rather rather than as a China should failure to achieve some ideal-typical level of capitalist takeoff. If capitalism capitalism is a continuum, continuum, it may be measured institutionally institutionally according to how far this process has gone in creating superordinate markets for the instruments instruments of market appropriation. have appropriation. We do not have to start with an ideal-type open market for the faders factors of production, nor with a financial financial "headquarters" creating credit and directing it to various areas of innovation. In one sense, the completely open market never comes into existence. The fundamental fundamental process of capitalist development is entrepreneurship (including in corporate form), form), and areas In in which that always involves involves the search for areas of profit, areas competition does not exist. And competition And ongoing ongoing enterprises, enterprises, as both both Weber emphasize, are always engaged in network-building and and White emphasize, monitoring activities that focus on noncompetitive niches or otherwise appropriate opportunities. At the same same time, time, the very appropriate market opportunities. success of such enterprises creates markets: lt It creates them in the sense that new consumers are found and new networks of distribution are established; and it tends tends to create superordinate markets that appropriation themselves. Financial bargain over the instruments of appropriation networks emerge out of the success of lower-level lower-level units units of producnetworks tion. Thus, Thus, finances finances become increasingly the "headquarters of capitalism," although financial institutions of any given degree of sophisneed not exist at earlier points in time. tication need time. 5chumpcter's Schumpeter's banks economic expansion by multiplying multiplying credit are a higher-level that fuel economic growth; And if credit is expanded by manipulating the time periods growth repayment, the development of still higher and more reflexive of repayment, "loops" of financial indicates that network complexity complexity financial speculation speculation indicates created can be escalated escalated to and hence the amount of credit that can be created still higher levels. There Th ere is no intrinsic point along this continuo continuumin at which "capitalism" begins. In fact, fact, the nature of capitalism seems to be that it is always always capable of adding such multiple multiple levels onto it. about And here is a bottom bottom line, line, if in fact one can say anything final about self-transforming entity we are calling "capitalism." this dialectically self-transforming The entrepreneurial, profit-seeking profit-seeking organization of production always contains "monopolistic" and market market elements. elements. Production contains both "monopolistic" Production itself creates markets and at the same time organizes itself socially to appropriate opportunities opportunities to deal upon appropriate upon them. them. If successful, this production not only spreads spreads In rkets horizontally in space, space, but also markets Cr M tends to create superordinate markets, which "become become increasingly financial. h e r level, the process financial. On this C higher process can repeat itself. Appropri-



Economics Econoriflbs ation anion of opportunities opportunities through network organization is much in evidence in financial markets, as well as through through the special kind of power network that constitutes constitutes the state. But these financial markets also subject to a competitive competitive dynamic, which keeps reemerging are also keeps reemerging "at the top" of the system, and which makes even the financiers and the state vulnerable to up-and-down processes they cannot control. lt It appears likely that new social loops can be added onto onto the top of this system, perhaps ad infinitum, without without losing losing this this basic characteristicTo be sure, sure, politics is capable of destroying economic development development well as being (as well being destroyed destroyed by it). Weber's model of institutional institutional part of the preconditions preconditions shows us that the state has always always been part economic process, and the fact that geopolitical patterns are crucial in a t least some kinds of technological innovation innovation shows that states can at autonomous influence, equivalent to economic markets markets have an a n autonomous leads us naturally into the topic themselves. The nexus of causes thus leads explained in its own right. right. of politics as an area to be explained


Part II Politics


Imperialism and legitimacy: Weber's Weber"s theory of politics

Weber wrote a great about politics, but the general outline outline of his Weber great deal about theory style of expositheory is surprisingly surprisingly obscure. obscure. Apart from Weber's Weber's style tion, the reason appears appears to be that the causal dynamics of politics he indicates are not at all what one would expect. Weber's well-known conventionally internal to the state: state: the political typologies are all conventionally three legitimacy, with their accompanying organizational three forms forms of legitimacy, accompanying organizational forms of domination, plus the lineup lineup of class, status, status, and party facfactions that contend for power. But the one place where Weber (1922/1968:901-4o) offers a systematic introduction to politics, his (1922/1968:901-40) chapter chapter in Economy and Society entitled "Political Communities," has not been recognized recognized as such. such. Instead of dealing dealing with with the internal affairs of a politically organized society, it devotes most of its attention apparently subsidiary subsidiary matters: matters: imperialism and nationalism. tion to apparently But this chapter chapter introduces introduces the longest section of the book (Weber, 1922/1968:901-1372), which state in all its historical 1922f1968:901-1372), which considers the state Found room here for a discussion of imperiforms; the fact that Weber found have a central importance alism shows that he considered the topic to . for the whole of politics. sense of incongruity disappears once This sense incongruity disappears the received once we get over the notion that politics is essentially essentially internal state. The thrust of notion internal to a state. Weber's thought thought is exactly the opposite: that that politics works from the outside external, military relations of states states are crucial outside in, and that the external, determinants deterrninan is of their internal politics. This is because of the centrality stniggle for power. power. Legitimacy, as of legitimacy as a resource in the struggle apprehended the usual typological fashion, apprehended in the fashion, seems undertheorized undertheorized . It is acknowledged to be important, but there seems to be no way to go beyond the static typology and set it in motion. How is legitimacy 8ained gained and lost, and who will get it under what conditions? 'Weber Weber is suggesting that it is tied to the power position of the state in the international international arena. arena. To the extent that this section of Economy and Society has been been read r



Politics at all, it has most often been by commentators commentators who have seen seen it as an expression expression of Weber's own own nationalism. nationalism. Weber has been accused accused of an overly attitude toward the militarily powerful powerful state, and overly admiring admiring attitude approach to of reflecting reflecting the German nationalism nationalism of his day. This approach Weber's analysis analysis is misleading misleading and simplistic. Weber's simplistic. The analytical analytical value of Weber'ss theoretical theoretical approach approach is ignored in the haste combat what is Weber' haste to combat seen seen as its politically politically activist implications. implications. In thi.s this ideological ideological argument, the theoretical lost. Simply put theoretical path forward is lost. put:: Weber proWeber is proposing a theory of the state from the "world system" system" perspective. perspective. main possibilities possibilities for such such a theory theory are economic economic or military. military. The two main Weber begins discussion of the economic economic position, position, in Hence Weber begins with a discussion Marxian view of imperialism. imperialism. the form of the Marxian By historical historical comparisons, Weber Weber attempts to show that that certain certain capitalist interests have been been imperialistic, types of capitalist imperialistic, whereas other types of capitalism capitalism have not. Capitalism, Capitalism, although although a contributing contributing factor in imperialism, imperialism, is not the only, or even the major, determinant. determinant. Weber then then turns turns to a military military theory of imperialism, imperialism, which Weber which is linked linked and to the external both to a theory of internal political legitimacy and international prestige of states. context of the international The theoretical viewpoint Weber was developing theoretical viewpoint developing is a good deal fundamental that those of Weber's Weber's critics who accused more fundamental who have have accused nationalist ideology. ideology. Weber him of merely merely expounding nationalist Weber does not asvoracious drive drive for military military expansion, everywhere and at all sume a voracious expansion, everywhere contrary, his concern concern is to show why and how military military times. On the contrary, expansionism occurs, occurs, and when it does does not. The The driving force of expansionism militarism, he proposes, militarism, proposes, is in the realm of prestige: the lineup of state powers in the "world" arena arena (however (however that that may be defined historpowers defined historparticular locations), and its interconnection interconnection with ically in particular with the internal prestige lineup lineup of contending factions, which is to say the basis of their varying legitimacy. varying legitimacy. Following Weber's sequence Following sequence of argument, we see that that the discusdiscus-

sion of imperialism is preceded by a discussion of the origins of legitpower-prestige in the international international arena. imacy arena. imacy and of the state's power-prestige Imperialist capitalism is introduced possible alternative alternative candidate candidate Imperialist capitalism introduced as a possible for explaining power dynamics explaining the power dynamics of states. The verdict on this being largely negative, negative, Weber Weber turns to what he finds to be a more more signifilargely cant force, nationalism. But nationalism for Weber turns out to be not racial, ethnic, or language-based but something founded racial, founded on specifispecifically political the international political sentiments sentiments tied to the international prestige prestige of the states in its power relations with other states. The argument is incomplete, breaking off in the middle middle of a sentence. sentence. But it dearly clearly leads breaking leads us back to beginning of the chapter: The legitimacy legitimacy of state rulers rulers and the the beginning state's tendency toward imperialist imperialist expansion expansion are reciprocally reciprocally relattendency toward 146

Imperialism and legitimacy ed. A theory theory of imperialism is an intimate part of a theory of domestic legitimacy and domestic political domination, domination, and vice versa. versa. legitimacy A Weberian theory of politics, politics, then, implies that internal internal politics politics is Webérian theory implies that intimately connected with external geopolitics. The ability of internal dominate a state depends depends considerably political factions to dominate considerably on the position situation or, as we might say position of the state in the transnational transnational situation today, on its place in the world system. A Weberian Weberian political sociology proceeds proceeds ultimately from the outside outside in, and the rhythms and struggles of internal politics are strongly strongly affected struggles affected by the external external fate state in the world. world. I believe it is consistent with this interpretaof the state interpretation that Weber's introduction to the state - the chapter chapter "Political Communities" Communities" - begins with with the questions questions of legitimacy and imperialism, and ends with a discussion of all the different internal factions that can play a part in the domestic struggle for power. The latter section has become famous taken out of this context under the title 46:i8o-95). Yet, although this "Class, Status, and Party" (Weber, is 1946180-95). rightly taken as the starting section has been rightly starting point for a theory of stratification. it was written sh'1ilfl.Qatlr;m per se stratification, written not as a discussion discussion of stratification se that can play a part in but as a roll call of the various various interest groups that encompasses the major parts of a the political arena. arena. The chapter encompasses theory unity, Legitimacy theory of politics, it only remains remains to see them as a unity. Legitimacy dominate the and its origins: that is the question of how someone can dominate state. Imperialism, power-prestige, and nationalism: these are the processes, international in character, that determine determine the dynamics dynamics of legitimacy. status group, legitimacy. And class, status group, and party: these these are the contenders for the throne. The national state is the stage on which the drama arena writes the plot. is played, but the international international arena been A full-scale theory theory of politics along along these lines Lines has scarcely been more than sketched, let alone worked out. I will attempt to do no more begin the project here. here. Among other things, things, it would have to deline~ delinebegin internal dynamics dynamics of the economy that create classes, and ate the the internal and the status groups. An inkling of even more complex factors producing status how these these internal actors on the political stage are formed formed was given in Chapter Chapter 5. Here, Here, following Weber's Weber's own exposition, I propose propose to external politics draw the general general connections between between internal and external following logically upon upon this, to try to [ill fill in what a causal theory and, following of the external politics of states would be like. This, in fact, is a theory of geopolitics. Hence, Chapters 7 and 8 will develop develop and illustrate Hence, Chapters illustrate the general principles of geopolitics Eeopolitics I have proposed elsewhere. Chapters 9 and 10 again on the internal arena, to pick up some of the Io will focus again features of the the group struggle for legitimacy. We begin, though, where Weber Marxians over over the nature where Weber does, in his debate with with the Marndans nature of imperialism. imperialism ,




Politics Economic interests, imperialist and nonimperialist nonimperialist Weber begins his discussion question of whether economic discussion with the question trade may not be the cause cause of political expansion of state territories. answers: not necessarily. The unification of Germany, Germany, for examHe answers: example, was carried out contrary to the natural trade lines rather rather than along them. The economically determined market for east German grains grains would would be England, England, not west west Germany, and the market market for west would be France, wh whereas German industrial goods would ereas those from east Germany would go to Russia. On the contrary, trade often follows political unification arbitrary lines of polities unification rather rather than causes causes them, as in Austria, or in Russia, Russia., where where north-south north-south railway lines were established first for military purposes. Similarly, in ancient lished ancient times, numernumerestablished irrespective ous empires empires were established irrespective of preexisting trade routes: Empire when moved inland away the Persian Persian Empire, the Roman Empire when it moved away Chinese empires, the Mongols.1 from the coastal sealanes, the Chinese points to both both modern On the other hand, hand, Weber (1922i1968:914) (1922/1968:914) points modern and ancient which imperial imperial expansion expansion did "follow "follow the ancient empires in which tracks of previously existing capitalist interests." The continental expansion of the United States of America, like the expansion of Great Britain overseas overseas and of Russia in Siberia, is of this iBritain this type. Weber saw this as especially likely where where the areas were politiareas to be penetrated penetrated were polite weak (especially tribal areas). areas). In ancient ancient times as well, the cally weak the AtheAthenian fornian and Carthaginian Carthaginian empires, as well as the Roman during its forMediterranean littoral, mative period when it was confined to the Mediterranean were influenced by interests in export trade. Node. One may well ask if it is legitimate to consider ancient and modern states together, given their very different economic systems and social dal structures. structures. Often, Often, modern capitalist imperialism imperialism is considered qualitatively different different from anything anything found in premodern states. states. Yet thinks the comparison Weber thinks comparison instructive. instnictive. This is partly because he

are noneconomic processes involved in imperialism believes there aw (especially the dynamics of state prestige competition) that apply to all states, whether they have modern capitalism or not. But even in the the realm of economic causes, causes, Weber Weber holds that the key to imperialist imperialist capitalism ancient Rome Rome itself. "I»tome's overseas capitalism may be found found in ancient "Rome's overseas expansion," he states, "as "as far as it was economically determined, 1

Weber's statement is only only partly correct. Chinese empires usually usually tried Lo to control control the Kansu-Sinkiang wealth as a trade route. Kansu-Sinkiang corridor corridor to the west, west , because because of its its wealth route. The Mongols did did so, the major major parts of their Persia, Russia) Mnngnls so, too, too, although although the their empire (China, Persia, did not compose trade routes per se., se, and the Mongols Mongols certainly certainly were comprise the trade were not capitalists. capitalists.


ImperialiSm Imperialism and legitimacy legitirnaq; shows that have since recurred in basic outline again and shows features features that today, These features features occurred in Rome in again and which still recur today. Ln and in gigantic pronounced fashion fashion and gigantic dimensions, for the first time in these history. However fluid the transitions to other other types may be, these 'Roman' features are peculiar to a specific type of capitalist capitalist relations, relations, 'Roman' 'features or rather, they provide the conditions for the existence of this specific type, which we wish to call imperialist capitalism" capitall'sm"' (Weber, 1946:166-7; which 19461166-7; italics added). The economic interests favoring favoring imperialism, however, are not generally those concerned with trade per se. Given that "the economic stricture general does does co-determine structure in general co-determine the extent and manner 1946:915), many of these economic of political expansion" (Weber, 194f3:915), economic interests may not Migrating peasant communities not be capitalist at all. la/iigrating previous settlers; in the the past have sought land and wiped wiped out ottt the previous settlers; conquering knights have land with settlers attached conquering have taken taken the land with the settlers attached as a labor labor force for coerced production. production. Which alternative alternative has occurred occurred has depended on the economics of army supply supply itself, the massacres massacres occurred when total populations were were displaced, displaced, whereas serfdom resulted from armies of see~equipped self~equipped kuighM knights living on a subsistence subsistence these specifically predatory economic interests, economy. Aside from these however, others can be called capitalist. Plutocratic trading communities might might also be interested ininterested in conquest, since the preferable investment tor profits was land worked indebted bondsmen, and vestment for worked by .indebted warfare provided provided opportunities opportunities for warfare tor such investment in land. This capitalist interest spoils of war might interest in the spoils might even even come directly into into conflict with with a noncapitalisl noncapitalist economic economic interest, such as in the struggles between the social classes in Rome in the period leading up to the Gracchi in the second century e.c., B.c., when the political reforms of the Cracehi landless peasants of the expanding Roman population wanted land for themselves, whereas the wealthy investors wanted wanted conquered lands to be leased at nominal rates.

The form of capitalist imperialism that came to dominate in Rome

such imperialism imperialism in world represents, for Weber, Weber, the type type of such world history. history . The Carthaginians pioneered pioneered its use on a large scale before Rome; it scale" by the Spaniards Spaniards in South South was later later taken up "on the grand 4rand scale" America, by the Dutch Dutch in Indonesia, and by the English, especially in the Caribbean and the American American south. Colonial Colonial capitalists had tremendous inhabitants or mendous opportunities for profit by enslaving; enslaving the inhabitants tying them to the soil as plantation In the absence of governtying plantation laborers. in mental apparatus apparatus suitable for collecting taxes, these might might be farmed tanned out to private private tax-farmers, another form of tax-farmers, who thereby thereby collected another capitalist profit. profit. And the colonial government could could enforce state


Politics monopolies entermonopolies on trade trade in the interests interests of particular particular capitalist enterprises. Such interests -- colonial booty capitalists, tax-farmers, privileged suppliers of anus arms and credit to the traders, together with suppliers the state for military expeditions - form a capitalist sector favoring imperialism. imperialism. that these constitute only one sector of Weber's thesis, thesis, however, is that capitalists and that with those those of capthat their interests are not identical with italists concerned with normal manufacturing manufacturing and trade, who may find profit without incl ample opportunities opportunities for profit without military military expansion. The relative strength of imperialist capitalism, compared to, shall we say, depends on the degree to which the economy is depenpacifist capitalism, depends dent on the state for for satisfying economic clerrfarzds. demands. then, is Weber's major theoretical Here, then, theoretical point regarding the power of imperialist capitalism. capitalism. Where business interests exist primarily to sell goods goods to the state state or loan capital to it, or rely on the state to provide exploitable land, monopolized trade, or opportunities opportunities for tax farming, then then capitalists favor imperialism. imperialism. Where the business business economy is more private, less "collectivized," les lesss dominated by politically connected Inonopolists, monopolists, the capitalists favor pacifism. The latter latter Britain in the free-trade situation, Weber suggests, characterized characterized Britain free-trade era Former, however, however, he saw (writing of the 17oos and and early 18oos. The former, about 1910) as coming about coming again into prominence, because the balance of potential profits potential profits had swung swung, to government government monopolies monopolies in foreign railroad building trade concesbuilding and other construction, monopolist monopolist trade and governmental sions, and governmental loans. loans. "The universal universal revival of 'imperialist' 'imperialist' capitalism," Weber states, "which has always always been the normal form capitalist interests influenced politics, and the revival in which capitalist interests have influenced of political drives drives for expansion, are thus not accidental" (Weber, 1922/1968:919). In Weber's view, if socialist states were to emerge in the future, . -


they they would not not escape from this dynamic? For precisely because

te nstates have a highly collective economy, there is a strong tensuch states dency for economic interests interests to seek satisfaction satisfaction by state action, action, or at least least not to oppose it. Socialist states states would be just as liable as states dominated by imperialist capitalists capitalists to use force to set favorable conotherwise squeeze tribute out of weaker states ditions of trade or otherwise elsewhere in the world. If Weber's Weber's theoretical theoretical proposition elsewhere proposition about the conditions for economic economic imperialism states should conditions imperialism is correct, socialist states should continuum, along with be at the highly imperialist end of the continuum, with other oriented economies, economies, and at the other states with highly highly politically oriented other end economies. from states with very very privatized economies. 2 2

concurs from the (1982) concurs the point point of view view of world-system theory. theory. Bergesen (198z}


Itrrperialzém and legitimacy Imperialism Nationalism Nationalism The extent extent to which particular particular social groups favor imperialism, how~ however, is not solely determined ever, determined by their their opportunities for economic profit. Noncapitalist groups capitalists may sometimes profit. Noncapitalist groups as well as capitalists sometimes profit from successful imperialism. In ancient Athens, the profits for the Athenian Athenian citizens (the demos) were were patently obvious, paid in the form of attendance fees fees at public ceremonies. In the modern world, the improvement improvement in the standard of living of the working working class in countries such as England, France, France, and Germany due to overseas imperialism is less visible, although Weber remarks that it would become apparent In apparent by its absence were the empires to disappear. in general, aside from capitalists directly involved in government busigeneral., aside ness, the modern masses have little conscious conception of what is to be gained economically by a given foreign foreign policy. In a remarkable remarkable passage, Weber assesses the war calculations of various various groups: war, the "monarch" has to fear for his throne, republican republican In the case of a lost war, power-holders and groups having vested interests having vested interests in a "republican "republican constituconstitution" have to fear the victorious victorious "general," "genera l." The majority of the propertied bourgeoisie have to fear bourgeoisie fear economic loss from the brakes being placed upon upon J

"business circumstances, should "business as usual." Under certain circumstances, disorganization should disorganization follow defeat, the ruling stratum of notables has to fear a violent shif shiftt in power in favor of the propertyless. propertyless. The "masses" as such, such, at least in their subjective conception and in the extreme case, have nothing subjective nothing concrete to lose but their lives. The valuation and effect of this danger strongly fluctuates in their own minds. On the whole, it can easily be reduced to zero through emotional influence. influence. [Weber, [Weber, 1922/1968:921] emotional 1922/1968:9211

influence Weber describes describes as a sentiment sentiment of prestige prestige This emotional emotional influence of the state state power, which may be called nationalism. seen simply simply as a The feeling of nationalism, however, however, is not to be seen matter matter of primordial group identity. Nationalism Nationalism is not identical with the solidarity of ethnic ethnic or language groups. Weber gives numerous

examples of cases in which nationalist sentiments either pass beyond language lines. The French nation does not or subdivide ethnic or language consist uniformly of French-speakers, French-speakers, nor is the nationalism the consist nationalism of the particular ethnic group. Swiss United States confined confined to a particular Swiss nationalism cuts across across three different language-speakers and etlinicitzies, ethnicities, and Gerseparates German-spealdng German -spealdng Swiss from German-speakers in Germany. We could add examples from ardent ancient societies: The common language of the Greeks did not give rise to a sense of political nalanguage tionality, despite strong feelings of ethnic distinctiveness the tionality, distinctiveness from the "barbarians" outside, outside; whereas the nationalism nationalism of the Roman citizenry encompassed encompassed a steadily expanding expanding ethnic coalition in Italy from the very very beginning.


Politics Polftxécs Nationalism, Weber insists, insists, is rather rather a specifically political sentiment. [t It is "linked to memories common political deshlny" destiny" ment. memories of a common (Weber, 1922/1968:923). It is the history of having fought together as part part of a common state, state, against tot' common pohtiagainst common enemies, for political ideals, that constitutes solidarity. Thus, the constitutes the bond of national solidarity. German-speaking Germawspeaking Alsatians Alsatians are nevertheless highly nationalistic nationalistic French people, because their political identity comes from participation in the French Revolution and its ensuing ensuing wars against the reactionary powers of the rest of Europe. Europe. Every state, state, insofar as it has an emotional among its own populace, derives this not from emotional appeal among from a nic unity in the population, preexisting eth ethnic population, but from the dramatic

struggles in which they have participated. It is because people have fought on the same side either either in internal conflicts for control of the state, revolution, or in external wars against outside outside state, especially in a revolution, enemies, that national sentiments exist. Participation Participation in the state itself enemies, is the sine qua non of nationalism. nationalism . One might might question, however, however, whether nationalism nationalism is a relevant large number of states that have little or no political category for the large democratic politics. Weber Weber does not address this this isdemocratic participation participation in politics, sue, sentiment of nationalism. nationalism sue, but implicitly it seems to follow that the sentiment has relevance relevance to whatever whatever groups groups are engaged engaged in politics, be they large masses or small military or aristocratic elites. In every state, power depends depends on some degree of common sentiment. At a minimum, if a small armed armed elite coerces unwilling masses, nevertheless nevertheless sentiments sentiments of solidarity among that coercive minority are crucial in binding it together fighting binding together as an effective figh tingFJ force. Beyond this minimum, the power of any state state to command its populace is enhanced to the degree that obedience can be enforced by prestige rather than by application of force. And at the farthest extreme, we the immediate immediate application nation-in-arms, where widespread and intense feelhave the en entire tire nation-in-arms, ings of nationalism ings nationalism are decisive for political events.

In this SSHSE, sense, nationalism nationalism is a crucial political process in all states. It states. lt is as significant significant in modern modern dictatorships as in democracies, perhaps all the more have made more so because modern authoritarian authoritarian regimes have made the most extensive efforts to mobilize public demonstrations of support support for the symbols symbols of the regime. regime. The mass mass rallies of the the fascist states and the omnipresent dramatization of leadership in communist states both represent represent deliberate deliberate efforts to keep up a heightened heightened level of of' nationalist sentiment in support of the state's state's projects. By the same token, nationalism nationalism in Weber's Weber's sense can be regarded regarded as a crucial states factor in ancient Sta yes as well as in modern modern ones. Despite the fact that most agrarian agrarian states limit political and military participation to a small most fraction of the thc- population, the sentiments of nationalism are impor152

and legitimacy Itnperialisrrz Imperialism and tent among that mobilized mobilized group. In the history of ancient Egypt, and "nativist reactions," which throw throw out of medieval China, China, we read of "nativist foreign regimes and reinstitute reinstitute domestic ones ones that can claim inheritance of earlier state state traditions. "Nationalism" state; in the "l\'a tionalism" has always existed wherever wherever there there is a state, "nationalism" in a more convenmodern era, what has been called "nationalism" tional sense sense has usually been regarded as a feature that emerged in nineteenth-century Europe Europe and has spread only ill cenin the twentieth century to the rest of the world, as urbanization, market economies and communications have have mobilized the bulk bulk of the bopulace populace for mass communications the first time. But this is only a special form of "nationalism": "at;iona]ism": a type claims are made for political autonomy based on in which special claims ethnicity. Even in these cases, the common ethnicity ethnicity is often quasiboundaries along along the lines of mythical, creating imaginary territorial boundaries political convenience. convenience. In Weber's version Weber's sense, "nationalism" in this version been an upsurge upsurge of efforts to divide divide particular states has simply been states into other states along their lines lines of maximal internal weakness. Thus, the prime example of modern modern "national "national autonomy" movements movements are those that dismantled dismantled the Austria-Hungarian and Ottoman empires in Austro-Hungarian Ottoman empires the Balkans. Yet these were precisely the states that were crumbling under external geopolihcM geopolitical pressures, "ethnic" nationalism is merely the form in which the fragmentary fragmentary states surviving the breakup breakup were were states has been a myth, myth; organized. The ethnic ethnic purity of many of these states Yugoslavia, example, incorporates ethnic groups, groups, as a Yugoslavia, for example, incorporates several several ethnic land miniature Austro-Hungarian Empire in itself. itself. And same kind of miniature Austria-Hungarian Empire And at the same time that Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary was breaking breaking up, the Russian Empire was groups in central Asia and incorporating even more disparate ethnic ethnic groups the Caucasus, having earlier overridden the ethnic Caucasus, having ethnic divisions of the Ukraine, White Russia, and the Baltic. In this case, case, "etluu'c "ethnic nationalism" was cast in a different form, one one appropriate for a consolidating empire: pan-Slavisrn and its extensions, which attempted to

claim a greater ethnic unity appropriate to an expanding state. state. Moreover, in the ancient ancient world nationalist nationalist sentiments been sentiments have been important even for mass political participation. The politics of the Greek and Roman city-states were nationalistic in much Greek much the same way modern states are, such as that those of modern are; and even even nondemocracios, nondemocracies, such the Mongol, Hunnic, Hunnic, Turkish, or German tribal armies, depended depended on sentiments mobilizing whole populations to t;o act together in their their wars or invasions. In each case, political unification was political unification was due to the prestige of the state state within which people people had a common participation and to the comparison prestige and the prestige prestige of comparison between between their own own state's prestige foreign foreign states. states. Nationalism exists, in in short, Nationalism exists, short, where where a state is able to awe awe its own 153

Politics followers and hence Io to attract more followers. "The prestige of power," Weber says says (1922!1968:911), "means in practice the glory of (1922/1968:911), "means power over other other communities." at~ communities." A successfully expanding state state attracts supporters, supporters, flocldng Flocldng to the winning side. side. Political success is the generator of nationalism. attacked by outgenerator nationalism. It is also true that states attacked out~ siders can experience an upsurge of nationalist sentiment, sentiment, although the extent nationalism is more extent of such such nationalism more conditional. conditional. The fervor of national defense exists to the degree degree that a people feels confident in its state's ability to successfully resist, or to come back from a defeat for future revenge. Too protracted or severe a defeat destroys nationalism, although an initial defeat tionalism, although defeat can enhance it. We may assume,

extrapolating Weber, that nationalism is attached to the viability of the state, but with a time Lime lag due to memory. If a state has a previous history would no longer longer exist history of success (and most most states do, else they would at that that time), then its subjects will wil] be most likely to be aroused aroused into nationalist fervor when when an attack powerful outside outside nationalist attack comes, even from powerful forces. forces. Even after a defeat, defeat, the memory of their old state's state's former sentiments, especially given that a prestige may still foster nationalist sentiments, recent defeat would make make the conquering conquering state more hated for its recent oppression than admired admired for its power. If within this memory span conquering state suffers reversals for other reasons, the conquering reasons, the stage is set for a nationalist revival and a war of liberation. The defeat of Prussia Fmssia by Napoleon in 18o5 1805 was followed by opportunities for revolt revolt in 1813 1813 when the Napoleonic army was beaten beaten in Napoleonic army Russia, Russia; the resulting resulting upsurge upsurge of German German nationalism was well within within the memory span suggested here, span suggested here, and its success was especially likelike~ ly occupation was not a very heavy heavy one . In because the French military military occupation The upsurge of "German" "German" nationalism that followed and eventually led to German unification unification by 1870 was thus superficially ethnic thus only only superficially ethnic in character. In reality, it was a dynamic of the prestige of the Frussian state, which had expanded steadily throughout the 17oos expanded steadily 17005 and

was able to continue in absorbing all of Germany in the 18005. F1'L1SSia Prussia was especially able to identify its own prestige with that of German ethnicity because of the Napoleonic conquest of Germany; the "negaethnicity because tive prestige" of the French state constituted the other pole of the other *pole drama that constituted the victory victory of German nationalism. nationalism. Nationalism, then, is the result state in power Nationalism, result of the success of a state politics. It is a feeling of awe toward the state, especially in regard to its proven ability to coerce domestic consent; and a feeling of subjective participation in the state's state's power in relation to other states. In

this latter respect it is a vote of confidence in the ability of one's state ability to to defend one against outside enemies, and, relatedly, in its ability following a winning football expand and and conquer others. Like fans fans following 154

Imperialism and legitimacy team; their state team the loyalty of political subjects to their state depends on its victories. A victorious state experiences the greatest nationalism; nationalism, an embattled one experiences experiences nationalism nationalism to the extent that it can draw embattled memories of past victories that upon memories that can probably probably be repeated. A long string of defeats saps national loyalty, and eventually, after time periods we have have not yet measured, periods measured, national national loyalty loyalty disappears. In its pla ce comes a new nationalism, new, victorious place nationalism, adhering adhering to some new, cloaked in its particular symbolic symbolic formula, whether whether it be an state, and cloaked ethnic or a more strictly political ideology.


Legitimaqr Legitimacy _;


It should should be apparent, that nationalism nationalism for Weber Weber is the essence essence apparent, then, that legitimacy. Legitimacy, L e t i m a c y as as_usually willingof political legitimacy. usually defined, is the willingness of followers to accept orders given to them as properly to be obeyed. is conceived of obeyed. Too often this 'FS'conc'éTi7@ 6? as aS a kind of psychological psychological quantity impressed impressed on individuals indiidduals by socialization, and acting as an quantity internal gyroscope bringing about political obedience. Yet Weber's that legitimacy is nothing if not dynamic. lt It is not discussion shows that internalized constant emotional feeling an internalized constant but an emotional feeling that arises from assessing the prestige prestige of the state at any given moment. moment. Weber's Weber"s assessing nationalism is simply legitimacy carried to fervid levels' levels: In a condition arousal, a populace of nationalist nationalist arousal populace does not merely passively accept the state's orders orders as legitimate actively enthusiastic enthusiastic to join in in legitimate but is actively nationalism waxes and and fighting the state's battles for it. But just as nationalism with the degree wanes with degree of political conflict and the changing fortunes of states, states, legitimacy fluctuates from high to low. In many legitimacy also fluctuates many cases it may be nonexistent. Weber's discussion discussion of the origins origins of legitimacy, legitimacy, which leads off his Weber's which leads chapter "Political Communities," connection bechapter on "Political Communities," makes clear the connection tween legitimacy violence. Originally, Originally, Weber Weber proposes, proposes, hveen legitimacy and national violence. violence was not. legitimate. He sketches a situation of loose tribal ties. Violent individuals individuals form small marauding hands; bands; men gather together in a closed "men's house" and subjugate together subjugate the women women and the weaker individuals. individuals. Such groups, he proposes, proposes, may cloak their religious ceremonial ceremonial and the fearsome masks of "superpower in the religious described in the ethnographic literature, but the rerenatural" beings beings described ligious. legitimation legitimation is spurious, merely an effort to add symbolic symbolic terligious. disposal. Inside the secret secret society, the ror to the real violence violence at their disposal. attitude toward these spirits spirits may remain cynical and skeptical. skeptical. The attitude remain cynical warriors' warriors' domination domination over others others is based ultimately ultimately on naked force,

conceded as a legitimate right. and not conceded Nevertheless, legitimacy does does spring spring from Nevertheless, a real sense of legitimacy from this kind of 155

Politics organization organization of violence. Legitimacy Legitimacy comes from a special type type of emotion: the emotion that individuals feel when facing the threat threat of death in the company of others. The group that that faces death death together special bond. It is a "community has a spedai "community of political destiny" of a sort matched by no other. groups acquire a solidarity solidarity deriving deriving from a matched other. Such groups "community of memories" memories" deeper than than ethnic, ethnic, linguistic, or other other lt is for this reason that nationalism nationalism is not linked linked to cultural ties. It specific cultural cultural backgrounds, but can bring bring together together whoever happens to have fighting together have been united by fighting together in a common organization. organization. So far we have seen only the source of a peculiar type of solidarity, confined within fighting groups. Legitimacy in the full sense arises expected to face death from this, however, because the individual is expected death interest of the group group as a whole. Accordingly, in the interest Accordingly, the individual concedes the right of the group group to expect him (or her) to engage in self-sacrifice for the sake of the group, as well w e ] as to support the group group in all aspects relating relating to the common safety. This gives rise to a leg timate by the memparticular type of violence that is accepted accepted as legitimate punishment bers of the group group on whom it may be turned: hlrned: violent Violent punishment members who directed by the group group as punishment against any of its members treasonably or harm the group group by disobedience act treasonably disobedience or cowardice in warfare. warfare. For the the first time, time, violence violence is now connected with with a right right that people (at least some of them) will concede applies to themselves as well as others. others. At this level, it should be noted, violence is legitimate only as used within the fighting group, for purposes of disciplining disciplining its own members. The violence that the group uses against outsiders is not legitimate; it is merely successful coercion, or not. Thus, sentiments of mate, particular disciplined groups; groups, legitimate authority authority exist only within particular legitimacy. Weber extends outside these groups, there there is no claim of legitimacy. Weber extends this model to groups other other than than military military ones, to other pockets of this premodern societies. Religious legitimacy that emerge in various premodem groups generate this sense of the obligation obligation of the individual to the group, above all to the extent that in a hostile group, hostile environment environment members expected to undergo martyrdom faith. Kin groups with are expected are martyrdom for the the faith. their obligation to take blood vengeance for injuries injuries to any of their members, members; aristocracies with with codes of honor requiring requiring the settlement ooff affairs through dueling, dueling; the bandit societies: all of th.e sworn sworn secrecy of bandit authority for insiders, these generate specific specific sentiments of legitimate authority even though outsiders are completely completely cut off from these though outsiders these inner realms. modern phenomenon of legitimacy The crucial development in the modern occurs occu is when the state manages manages to acquire a monopoly monopoly of violence violence on



Imperialism and legitimacy a given territory. When this occurs, the collectivity collectivity involved involved in war~ war-extended. When aristocracies no longer fare becomes much more extended. peasfight other small small forces of opposing aristocracies in the midst of peasindifferent to the outcomes, the sphere sphere of legitimate ants indifferent legitimate authority is ready for a sizable populace is attacked, ready sizable extension. When When an entire populace attacked, it becomes states to claim that everyone is responsible responsible for becomes realistic for states that everyone aiding defense. The sentiment that linked only the aiding in the group's group's defense. fighting group together members of a fighting together into an authority authority structure, conceding the legitimate rights of disciplinary di sciplinary coercion over its members, bers, now becomes extended to the whole society. It is the military transition to mass warfare that makes every member of a modern state subject to the legitimate discipline of the state state.. This is not to say that premodern premodern rulers do not attempt to coerce followers or to demand their unconditional obedience. What What their followers unconditional obedience. differs, rather, rather, is the emotional mechanism. Where Where the masses had previously been coerced, so to speak, from "outside," now there is a psychological properly, in Durkheimian terms, ritual) mechapsychological (more properly, m Durkheimian mechaism that may sometimes produce a willingness of the masses to see nism each other coerced, and even even to concede that they have have duties the their own punishment. This does failure of which would rightly rightly bring their not happen all the time, time, and Weber was well aware (as surely we should be) that legitimacy is a fluctuating flttctuating sentiment. But what what is distinctive about modem modern politics is that such mass sentiments sentiments do regularly occur at times of major political events, hence the flucregularly events, and hence tuation in legitimacy can be a crucial determinant of the fate fate of governments and of states. ernments The argument argument as stated stated gives too much much of the impression impression of an evolutionary sequence from nonlegitimate nonlegitimate violence, through the internal discipline in conflict groups, to the mass mass legitternal legitimacy of discipline imacy of the modern state. In fact, fact, we can easily give historical cases pages) of mass political participation participation (many of them them in the preceding pages)

and hence mass sentiments of legitimacy in premodern states. The politics of Rome and the Greek city~states, city--states, and the mass posttribal nomad nomad armies, armies, provides examples; examples, one might well add some of the Crusades other cases. Conversely, Conversely, the small-scale small-scale in-group in-group legitlegitCrusades and other organizations does not disappear in the modern era, imacy of fighting organizations not does does illegitimate illegitimate violence. violence. What What we have, rather, nor rather, is a set of analytical constructs; three different conditions that give rise to varying constructs: three discisentiments conceding conceding the legitimacy of violence used for group disdpline. point is that that whatever group is mobilized as a fightpline. The major point ing group will undergo automatic processes that generate these emotions tions legitimating authority.


Politics and imperialism imperialism Legitimacy and

We may now attach the model of internal legitimacy to the Weberian theory of nationalism and imperialism. Legitimacy, for tor Weber, Weber., is not a constant quantity. It varies depending on the extent to which people feel their group group is in a situation involving involving the potential threat of death. The group involved in a fight feels the the pressure for group discipline, and concedes the legitimacy of its leadership, much more more strongly time of peace. The same strongly than than the same group in time same applies on an extended scale to a whole society, if it is collectively organized for defense and attack. Legitimacy not only is intermittent over time; Weber (1922/1968:902) (1922»"`1968:9o2) even remarks that in a prolonged state of peace, condipeace, a society tends toward nonlegitimacy, in fact toward a condition of anarchy. It is for this reason that so much of the peacetime discourse of politics nevertheless is aimed, aimed, overtly or covertly, at war. A state state maintains its internal legitimacy to the extent that that it can invoke its external external power against threatening threatening rival states. Its legitimacy deduring fighting pends not only on the actual emotions that take place during fighting but also on the sentiments that can be generated by waving the flag in peacetime. The state with vis-a-vis other states assures with high prestige vis-8-vis other states itself of a higher degree of legitimacy for its demands for internal obedience. Thus, Weber (19zz/1968;9o4) (19zz'19f58:9o4) can conclude that "it is on Ls this prestige that the consensus of specific legitimacy of action is founded." This analysis of legitimacy may may sound strange in relation to raWeber's better-known better-known typology of charismatic, charismatic, traditional, and ra tional-legal forms of legitimacy. legitimacy. Did Weber tonal-Iegal Weber have two different and unrelated theories of legitimacy? I do not think think SO. so. The three types of legitimacy refer r e f e r to the way that legitimacy is structured; the commit* Commll' nity-of-violence theory explains the source and strength of the feelnits-of-violence

i n s of legitimacy. Thus charismatic leaders become the personal ings authority, whereas traditional traditional leaders leaders inherit inherit their their offices focus of authority, through rational-legal leaders are through ldnship kinship or religious practices, and rational-legal chosen and base their orders on enacted constitutions or laws. To populace accords legitimacy legitimacy to such persons dewhat degree degree the populace depends on the strength of emotions aroused by their political community of fate. The fate of the state's power~prestige power-prestige determines the amount of legitimacy there will be; the typology merely indicates indicates who will be the recipient of this legitimacy. For the dynamics dynamics of legitimacy, then, the power-prestige power-prestige model is a more important predictor predictor of the behavior than the typology. In this view, previous behavior of political subjects than discussion of legitimacy in terms terms of religious religious ceremonial ceremonial or rational-



Imperialism and legitimacy legal ideologies are too static. Such arguments arguments place too much emphasis on the ability of religion religion or ideology to create legitimacy, legitimacy, whereas fact these whereas in fact these merely channel emotions onto particular recipients recipients.3 One might nevertheless challenge this interpretation empirically on the grounds that it makes states' legitimacy depend unnecessarily on their belligerence. It would seem seen to make make it impossible for a state to be legitimate highly pessimistic legitimate in peacetime, peacetime, thus proposing a highly pessimistic view does not fit all the historical facts. of the world, as well as one that does evidence against against this theory, pointing Weber himself seems to give evidence that political elites are not always nationalistic and imperialistic out that but are at times opposed to imperialism. imperialism. The Spartan aristocracy aristocracy for long periods was Roman aristocracy aristocracy was anti-expansionist; anti-exparisionist, similarly, similarly, the Roman after the Punic Wars, when the conquest of Italy had been completed, opposed "little Italy" opposed further imperial expansion in favor of a. "little Italy" policy. Similarly, the British aristocracy in the 17oos and 18oos favored a balance of peaceful foreign policy, intervening merely to maintain maintain the balance power; their their anti~imperialism anti-imperialism continued up through political opposition to the Weber explains explains tion wave of colonial colonial expansion expansion in the 18oos. Weber the wave anti-imperialistic sentiments such anti-imperialislic sentiments on the grounds that these elites felt threatened domes tically by political opponents who would benefit threatened domestically more from imperial expansion than themselves. The Spartans and Romans feared the democratization democratization that had occurred in other citystates undergoing mass military mobilizations power states undergoing mobilization, and felt their power challenged by imperialist demagogues appealing to the masses. The Roman aristocracy was right in their fears; the democratizing war Caesar, eventually party led by Marius and later by his relative, ]alius Julius Caesar, eventually 4

3 2

This is consistent formal theory of rituals, consistent with with a formal rituals, which which would would apply to religious religious and political A ritual political rituals as well. A ritual requires not only particular formula, only a particular formula, Eocus focus of attention, but also a strong common common emotion attention. and an assembled assembled group, but emotion (Collins, (Collins,

1975153-5)» 19752153-5). Given the emotion, a ritual ritual is an effective machine for creating sacred sacred symbols and using them to designate social soda] membership and authority. But the emotion outside the ritual ritual itself. itself. The The violeNce violence model model explains explains where where the emotion comes from from outside most important important emotional ingredient of legitimacy rituals rituals comes from. In traditional most emotional ingredient torn. In societies we can systematically systematically observe the connection between religious imimthe connection prcssivcness the hierarchy of political $961-1i and a similar pressiveness and the political power (Swanson, 1962), connection seems seems to exist in modern secular regimes between modern secular between the degree political degree of political centralization centralization and and authoritarianism, authoritarianism, and the extent of ideological ceremony ceremony and ideological sacredness. correlations, however, however, are static, question logical sacredness. Such correlations, static; and one may question whether the religion religion is so strongly believed in at all points in historical historical time. II would whether would g the lines of Weber's that the impressiveness impressiveness of the gods along Weber-'s analysis, analysis, that suggest, alon depends on the political success of the ruler, depends political success ruler, especially in in military military affairs. affairs. One might might say: tested on on the battlefield; battlefield; some some are say: ItIt is the gods gods (or other sacred sacred objects) objects) who are tested promoted and lose their holiness. holiness. Compare Compare the promoted and exalted as as a result, while while others others lose argument of Girard Girard {1977) religious ceremonies ceremonies always always include an element of argument {1977] that religious violence.


Politics Pofftfcs destroyed the oligarchy. A theoretical question remains, however: destroyed How can elites oppose imperialism if their sole base of legitimacy legitimacy belligerent sentiments sentiments and the prestige prestige of military military depends on belligerent expansion? expansion? I believe there there are two answers to this question. question. These are barely touched by Weber, but they are not inconsistent with his analysis. touched intermittent and not continuously continuously One answer is that legitimacy is intermittent necessary answer is that that there necessary for domination. domination. The second second answer there are interequivalents of war that that create domestic domestic legitimacy. nal equivalents legitimacy. First, it should should be recognized recognized that political domination domination does not First, depend solely on legitimacy. Widespread emotions of legitimacy depend Widespread emotions easier to rule; rule, but the existence of armaments in the hands of make it easier a few can enforce domination domination a good deal deal of the time, especially especially in absence of some strongly strongly organized organized movement of revolt, which the absence itself would require strong counterlegitimacy. require a strong counterlegitimacy. Moreover, Moreover, from the view of a fine-grained fine-grained microanalysis microanalysis (Collins, (Collins, 1981a) a great great point of view routine. Things stay the way they are deal of social order is based based on routine. because people are physically dispersed across the the landscape in certain ways ways - the rich man in his castle, the poor man in his hut, and so cognitive complexities complexities of changing changing dthe forth - and the cognitive e physical physical organization of things things tends to require more energy and more coordicoordinization native activities activities than simply simply leaving leaving things not to native things as they are. This is not persons in power may not wish to generate strong strong sentisay that the persons ments of compliance compliance in order order to institute institute actions actions of their own; own; hence, hence, ments some of the time they wish this is wish to arouse feelings of legitimacy. legitimacy. But this intermittent. During During any given 24-hour 24-hour period, or any 365-day year, intermittent. there probably fairly few minutes popthere are probably minutes during during which many of the populace are called upon upon to experience experience the emotions emotions endowing endowing the state with legitimacy. Much of the time the state can survive by routine, or with legitimacy. by a relatively low degree of "legitimacy "legitimacy arousal." low degree The second answer is that when legitimacy The legitimacy becomes important important for politicians, it can be aroused aroused domestically domestically as well as on the internapoliticians, scene. It lt may be true historically, as Weber Weber claims, that it is tional scene. true historically, external violence that gives rise to the first and strongest feelings of legitimate obligation to the state. But the mechanism is a general one: Whenever finds itself in a community community of fate regarding regarding poWhenever a group finds tential violence violence £rom from some some outside outside group, internal internal legitimacy legitimacy for its lential authority structure is generated. Thus, internal conflicts conflicts can can also also gengenerate legitimacy, provided they are potentially dangerous enough provided potentially dangerous (and provided provided also that the group group leaders leaders can plausibly claim that crush their domestic enemies). enemies)- Thus, class conflict they will win and crush their domestic may be a basis for internal legitimacy. legitimacy. The ruling class need not base its claims to domination entirely on some ideology proclaiming the the its


lrnperialisrn arid legieiirrzacy Imperialism and legitimacy challenge from some other class can be even more justice of its rule; a challenge effective in stirring up the emotions buttressing or establishing establishing its e§.fective order against the party of legitimacy. It then becomes the defender defender of order disorder, where "disorder" means explicitly violence in the streets, threats property. threats to persons and property. Other domestic domestic enemies enemies may also be invoked. Religious Religious heretics heretics or supernaturally inspired threats threats (such as witches) witches) may on occasion supernaturally inspired legitimacy, other represent significant enough threats threats to generate legitimacy; special minorities (Bergeson, 1977). Crime special minorities or deviants may also serve serve (Bergeson, may also usefully serve this purpose. Perhaps the generalization may be made that in a society in which notions of class conflict are not part of the official ideology, and ethnic and religious persecution persecution is taboo (as in the United States after 1960), crime is magnified as a violent threat in order to generate generate feelings feelings of domestic domestic legitimacy legitimacy for the state. two anIt should should be noted noted that, under under certain circumstances, circu instances, the two answers to the question together. swers question of nonnationalist legitimacy can come together. Legitimacy may well be intermittent and largely superfluous to row apart from tine daily life. But this this does not mean the state will fall apart sheer state does crack, it is sheer lack of legitimacy. When When the state does begin to crack, them~ because organized groups spring up to claim legitimacy for themtum selves (expressly because they are combat groups). This in turn means that that a situation situation of genuine genuine domestic domestic threat now now exists, and hence internal conflict of groups. groups . hence politicians in power can point point to an internal Moreover, the more serious the rebellion, the more of the population it mobilizes into political participation. As the situation approaches a revolutionary revolutionary crisis.. crisis, everyone is forced to take an emotional emotional stand stand by declaring his or her loyalty to one side or the other. This This constitutes a Schelling-type which individuals try to join in 5chelling~type "consensus-game," in which the side they expect is most likely to win, lest they be endangered by being caught on the' losing side side (Schelling, 1962). Usually the side being

with the best "track record" of past coercive successes (the existing state) will gain state) gain most most of these "swing votes," helping assure its victory. And from the point of view we are considering here, it gains something else: a renewed politics, as something else: renewed basis basis of legitimacy. legitimacy. In internal politics, in external power-prestige games, the same same dynamic applies: applies: the state that successfully surmounts a situation of widespread violent threat threat gets a significant infusion of legitimacy. legitimacy. Ultimately Ultimately this is the lifeblood (or should should one say the heroin fix) of politics. politics.

Geopolitics, external and internal Geopolitics, Returning now to the question with which Returning whidl we began: How are the dynamics of imperialism to be explained? We must confine ourselves


Politics Weber does, to imperialism imperialism in the sense sense of foreign military military here, as Weber intervention establish an empire, imperial dominaintervention to establish empire; covert forms of imperial dominasuch as those promoted by unequal unequal exchange exchange in a formally formally free tion, such those promoted market (Emmanuel, (Emmanuel, 1972) are presumably result of some other other market presumably the result Weber'ss argument is twofold* twofold: (1) Colonial booty capitalism dynamic. Weber' fostering imperialism, imperialism, this is a strong strong influence influence to the plays a role in fostering economy revolves revolves around around provisions provisions to and flowing flowing degree that the economy from the state. Yet this economic interest in imperialism, even in these instances, instances, is the less less important factor. (2) The most important these important factor. most important factor is the interests interests of political leaders in stirring up domestic legitimacy through through success in the external military competition with other competition with

tO be sought through engagstates. Internal legitimation is the good to tor the ing in the prestige prestige game in the international arena; the prize for rulers of the "Great politicsrulers "Great Power" Power" is paid in the coin of internal politics. that there We have, however, just seen that there are alternative, homegrown

uri gabro d. Howd legitimacy abroad. How do we ways off egenerating e r ii gglegiti \ C without with t venturing weigh these relative to foreign-military-based foreign-military-based legitimacy? When will politicians attempt to play on one rather than the other? other? (And (And for that politicians attempt matter, challenge is to matter, why why shouldn't shouldn't they play on both at once?) The challenge elements Weber provided and spin them into a fulltake the elements Weber has provided blown predictive predictive theory. It is clear that that such a theory theory must must involve two different realms of arena of military relations relations among states, and explanation, the external arena the internal arena of domestic political factions. domestic political factions. I propose that we something of the determinants operating operating in both of these these know something external politics politics influence influence each realms, and also that internal and external theory, then, should be to explain which other. The result of such a theory, states will be most (and least) imperialistic externally, and similarly, which most legitimacy which factions factions will achieve achieve the most legitimacy internally, internally, and and by which kind of appeal. First First the external arena. This may may be defined as a network of states

concerned about their military prestige vis-8-vis one another. The prestige emulation goes on constantly, during peacetime prestige peacetime as well as during war. Thus Thus the relations among among states states may he be seen as a kind kind of during the relations among social groups within a status system analogous to that found among society. Bendix (1967, 1978) has taken such concepts concepts as the "reference "reference society. group" psychology to apply group" from social psychology apply to the process process by which the leaders take another loaders of an entire society society take another as "reference "reference society" society" to catch up with; with, hence, the process of "modernization" is an endless chain of emulation emulation of successful "world powers" by aspiring ones. ones. It chain expansion is carried follows that imperial imperial expansion carried out in order order to claim or maintain one's one's status as a Great Power, Power, rather than for economic economic motives per se.


Iruperfalisrrz and legitimacy Imperialism This analysis helps make sense out of many phases of world history. Thus the scramble for colonies after 1880 was set off as the rising French one acted to emulate and chalGerman state and the revived Frendi lenge British domination of world lenge world power-prestige, the result was an "inflationary" phase read phase of prestige competition. (Along this line of reasoring, external prestige-dynamic prestige-dynamic that brought brought England England soning, it was the external unwillingly out of its anti-imperial anti-imperial mood .- not because, as Weber stated, colonial booty capitalism became internally dominant; rather, stated, colonial. rather, the change in mood presumably occurred only as the result _of of the the race.) The possession possession of colonies was secondary and symcolonial race.) symbolic: Great Powers fought for such things, "Iwhether hether or not they were worth the cost in economic terms. It is consonant with this analysis that World War 1I was not fought between the states whose economic interests in the colonies were were most most clearly opposed (because (because this would have brought about about a war between France and Russia on one V. probably M against England as the principal enemy, in alliance side, against ene\;1_,, with joined its colonial rivals with Germany); Germany); instead, England England joined rivals against state making malting the strongest Germany, which which was the state strongest bid to overtake England in international international military prestige. Similarly, it can be argued England argued that the post-World confrontation post---World War II confro rotation between the United States fundamentally a prestige competition among and the Soviet Union is fundamentally among the two Great Great Powers, and would exist e>dst whether or not economic interests were were at stake. lt interests It is in keeping keeping with this analysis that both elites have based based their strongest claims for U.S. and Soviet political elites legitimacy on the foreign threat throat from the other. It remains to make make this theory theory more precise. After all, there there are many states in the international arena. At any given time, which which ones imperialistic, and against whom will be the most imperialistic, whom will their imperialism be directed? directed? In Bendix's (1967) terms, terms, who who will be the "refer"reference society," and who will be its primary emulator? The answer, I would suggest, is that that the militarily most powerful

state becomes the "reference 'reference society" at any given time. (Thus, in modernization sequence we see a series Bendix's modernization series of attempts to catch with Germany, up first with Spain, then then with with England, England, France - later with Inod~ Soviet Russia, and the United States giving a choice of leading mod. -

e l . ) This may serve as a provisional answer. To explain explain which states els.) will be the prime must go prime emulators, the would-be would-be challengers, challengers, we must beyond this to consider the conditions that give a state a real chance of success. For if domestic legitimacy is to be gained by winning power in the international arena, arena, it should also be kept in mind that legitimacy can also be lost as well as won. Rulers of states that that fight unsuccessful unsuccessful wars jeopardize jeopardize their their own legitimacy at home, and have been would have been better off if they had not attempted the wars. Some163

Politics P0I1'iLic5 matter; but times domestic politics leaves rulers little choice in this matter; leaving this condition considering only the condition aside for the moment moment and considering possible to say which should be external lineup of states, states, it is possible which states should most likely to attempt external expansion expansion most attempt external that - simply simply put, the states that have the greatest greatest chance Here we may invoke invoke have chance of military military success. Here geopolitical geopolitical theory theory of the determinants determinants of the expansion and contraction of states' states' borders (Collins, 1978; Chapter Chapter 7 of this volume). volume). Without going into the details of this model, it can be noted noted that states that have a size and resource advantage over their neighbors, or that have a "marchland "marchland advantage" in the positional lineups lineups among multifront multifront confrontations, will be most tempted to expand at the expense expense of confrontations, most tempted other states around around them. them. It is these conditions conditions that determine which states less imperialistic imperialistic at any particular states are relatively relatively more and less particular time time dynamics of international international prestige prestige in world world history. history. In short, the dynamics emulation, insofar as they can be predicted solely from the external among states, are based on the principles relations among principles of geopolitics. geopolitics. We turn now to the internal internal dynamics dynamics of imperialism. imperialism. The most significant internal principle principle is that that whichever whichever political faction carries out a war will get the credit or blame for its success or failure. The party that carries domestic legitcarries out a successful war enhances its domestic imacy; defeat loses legitimacy. Within Within time imaey; that which which leads leads a military military defeat limits that are still to be determined, determined, this principle should help explain the ups and downs downs of domestic politics. At the extreme, this with a theory theory of revolution that emphasizes principle is congruent with exhaustion as its primary cause (Skocpol, 1979, 1979; military defeat or exhaustion Collins, 1978).4 1978)-4 The argument here implies that the revolutionargument made made here ary downfall of a state is due not simply to economic difficulties difficu ties or disintegration of its military apparatus apparatus in defeat (which may not occur disintegration in every case of revolution) but also to its loss of legitimacy. Presumably this would depend on the regime's regimes basing its claims strongly on prestige in the international arena.5

Short of revolution, one would expect that military success or defeat would affect the ascendancy and decline of domestic political factions. This analysis has yet to be tested empirically. actions. This empirically. The theoretical claim, though, th ough, is extensive. It implies that the fate of domestic parties international arena. depends largely on the fate of their state state in the international arena international fate is predictable, in turn, Since that that international tum, from the geopolitir

4 5

that military states typically The latter proposes proposes that military overextension of states typically leads leads to rapid rapid disintegration of territorial disintegration territorial power. power. For example, example, the fall fall of the 5hah's Shah's government guvemment in considerable in Iran Iran in 1978 was to a considerable extent extent due to the fact that that itit was linked closely to U.S. U.S. military military support. Defeat Defeat of of a U.5,-supported Vietnam caused a sharp drop drop in this source U.5.~sLlpported regime regime in in Vietnam in this source of power-

and drastically curtailed curtailed the Iranian government. prestige, and the legitimacy of the Iranian


Imperialism lm perilzlisnz and legitimacy cal structure of the world system, the inference is that world world geopoliinternal political tics is a major determinant of the rise and fall ooff internal factions in its constituent states. The nature of this linkage is not yet specified. The geopolitical drama; system does not tell us who will be the domestic actors in this drama; it only predicts the rise and fall al] of each, starting starting from the possession of domestic power by one or another state at a given time. Political Folitical theory pursued still holds theory as more conventionally conventionally pursued holds a place in this this kind world-system theory; theory, it shows the domestic social bases on which whirl of world-system are formed, and explains their domestic political political factions factions are Among these bases, several resources and their their lines lines of cleavage. Among

prominent? But this type of analysis types of economic cleavage are prominent? is essentially factions will be at a essentially static. static. lt It tells tolls us who the political political factions given time in a particular society. If II we wish wish to predict their fortunes, their their rise and fall into and out of power, we must turn to the the world ElI'EI'lEl.7 arena.7 Internal legitimacy and external power-prestige power-presti e are connected. connected. Weber's Weber's theory theory of imperialism was primarily an introduction to his theory Weber was theory of politics. Overall, Vlfeber was more concerned with with the the political effects of imperialism than with its causes. But because he arrives at this of imperithis conception by attempting to show show that the causes it alism are primarily legitimacy, we may exprimarily the internal struggle struggle for legitimacy, trapolate. Internal Internal political factions rise encl tall because they are tied and fall

to success or failure in foreign policy. This success or failure depends on the contingencies of the world system of geopolitical advantages advantages and disadvantages. 'these These dynamics dynamics of internal legitimacy~seeking impetus within any particular subsecreate the impetus particular state for engaging in subsequent ventures ventures in imperialism. quent theory may be extended on both fronts. fronts. We may examine the The theory produce classes and other factions, factions, and the internal dynamics that produce (1967) and Paige {1g7s]. (1975). * Among the best of such sud'l analyses are Wiley [1967] . But see Summers 6



and Goldirank Goldfrank (1979), for for a critique of the latter latter as unable to predict predict die the ascendancy ascendancy of particular particular factions factions because because it ignores ignores the world context. world context. Wet=er's point that as the Spartan ruling Weber's that certain certain political political elites, elites, such such as ruling class class or the Roman ariti-imperialist because because of fear of mass demagogic demagogic Roman or British aristocracy, aristocracy, were were anti-imperialist opposition opposition at home suggests another another refinement to to this analysis. analysis. That is, not not only do world geopolitical relations relations offed affect the internal internal fates political factions, also the world geopolitical fates of political factions, but also contingencies struggles affect whether whether or not a state state tends tends to be contingencies of domestic domestic political political struggles be imperialistic. Certain factions will will throw throw the brakes brakes to impede an imperial imperial policy that imperialistic. might might otherwise be favorable in in the external arena. arena. On the whole, though, Il think think secondary factor. Rome and Britain Britain eventually embarked embarked on imperial imperial expanthis is a secondary Spalta's failure failure to do sion despite opposition opposition by by domestic domestic elites; elites, and Sparta's do so may may be

extent of among its neighbors. neighbors. On balance, 1I attributed largely to the extent Of opposition among would judge judge that the dynamics internal/external political political relations relations are most most heat heavdynamics of intcmalhzxternal fly down reaction ily weighed weighed by the external external situation. The internal situation can slow down the external opportunities, but not not by by more more than than fifty to the fifty years, if it that.




constitute much of the internal environeconomic conditions that constitute ment of politics. Among these economic forces, though, though, will be prepolitics. Among theseeconornic demands made by the state to finance itself; and this is cisely the demands largely demands for the resources to largely* a matter of the military state's demands take advantage of geopolitical opportunities in the external arena or merely to keep up with the degree of international competition at in military technology. technology. State fiscal crises, crises, with their ramifying ramifying effects on domestic economies, economies, are more than not results of geopolitical domestic more often often than geopolitical overextension or other geopolitically determined determined pressures. The military resources of the state, state, of course, are also used used to maintain internal "order," albeit often in the form of the authority authority of a privileged class over others. This privileged group group may well take the form of inhabitants of the state itself. The growth growth of this group group parasitical inhabitants beyond certain bounds may become another cause of "fiscal crisis," such as the one that beset the top-heavy bureaucracy of Sung China (Chapter 3). In a sense, the state acts to extract resources from within a territory, in order order to transfer transfer them maintains coerthem to a center center that maintains might be conceived as a form of "internal cive control. The state state itself might dynamics can come geopolitics," and its strains and dynamics come from the concontingencies both internally and externally. tingencies of exerting military threat both course, an This leads leads us again to the external front, which is, of course, interest in its own right. right. For if the causal causal dynamics of interobject of interest nal politics are related in so SO many ways to a state's external power position, an ultramacro uftramacro viewpoint on the dynamics of the entire entire system of interacting states is what we must focus on theoretically. The following generalizations that following two chapters, chapters, therefore, treat some generalizations along these lines. have already been developed along



Modern technology and geopolitics

Most theories theories of geopolitics geopolitics have been histories of Most been drawn from the histories industrial states. In recent recent years, however, however, it has agrarian and early industrial been argued that modern technologies have completely completely changed the been argued modern technologies principles principles of warfare warfare and hence the geopolitical geopolitical relations relations of states. states. internal combustion combustion engine, engine, the airplane, airplane, the rocket - all have The internal increased the range range and speed speed of movement movement and attack; and greatly increased electronics makes global communications communications virtually instantaneous. instantaneous. electronics follow, then, Does it follow, then, that we are living in an era of entirely new geopolitical rules, in which all older principles of geopolitical explanaoutdated? tion are outdated? answers this strongly strongly in iN the the affirmaairmaOne prominent line of thought answers emphatically that the revolution transtive. Andreski Andreski (1968) states emphatically revolution in transportation and communication has already doomed the nation-state nation-state as portation already doomed an anachronism. anachronism The geopolitics geopolitics of a plurality of states, states.. such as has characterized until now, characterized the world up until now, no longer longer applies. applies. The most most powerful states now now can make military strikes in a minimal time anywhere these circumstances anywhere on the globe. Under Under these circumstances a world world empire empire is not only possible but (barring total destruction) inevitable. Not only has the new military technology technology made it likely that such an empire can be won, but the rapid pace of modern transportation and communication make it feasible feasible to administer administer a state nication state of this size. Other anatoo, have have assumed assumed that a unified unified world world empire empire is not only lysts, too, possible Wallenstein possible but likely in the future; this has been argued by Wadlerstein collaborators as a culmination culmination of long~term long-term trends trends in the and his collaborators capitalist capitalist world world economy economy (Research (Research Working Group, 1979). 1979). This viewpoint viewpoint implies that such such geopolitical principles as formerly applied to the individual individual stages stages have been superseded. superseded. What takes applied a n economic dynamic which encompasses encompasses the entire entire their place is an system, or alternatively, alternatively, the strategies strategies of nuclear nuclear war. The world system, poses quite different different possibilities possibilities than old-fashioned old-fashioned military latter poses in .loumai journal Originally published in


Pohticaf and Military Milifarjly Sodoiogy, Sociology, 1981 (9):16;>,-177. (9):163-177. of Political

PoEz't'ic5 Politics expansion conventional either case case we expansion through through convention al victory in warfare. In either appear to be in an entirely entirely new geopolitical geopolitical era. appear On the other side it might nothing essential might be argued argued that nothing essential has changed that necessitates a revision of geopolitical principles for the contemporary period. period. This is the position position that I will defend defend in this contemporary chapter. Classical geopolitical analysis has induced induced principles chapter. principles from the histories of the agrarian and early industrial states, ranging from the ancient Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean empires, empires, through the nineteenth century at the latest. A summary summary and extensuch theorizing theorizing is given in a previous (Collins, sion of such previous publication publication (Collins, 1978). Although Although this material does does not take account of the technological capacities capacities of zoth century century warfare. warfare, I will suggest suggest that a closer look at modern modern warfare warfare shows shows that the same sorts sorts of principles principles closer past. Some major principles continue to apply as in the past. principles are:

(1) Territorial resource advantage. Other factors factors being equal, richer richer and more populous states win wars against smaller and poorer ones. Hence the former tend tend to expand over long Hence lo expand long periods of time, the smaller to contract. Marcfaland advantage and corollaries. The geographical location of (2) Marchland relative to each other, independently independently of their their wealth wealth and popustates relative population, chances of victory in warfare hence of lation, also affects their chances warfare and hence long-term expansion expansion or contraction. (A) States States which which are physically peripheral the terminology peripheral to others ("march]and ("marchland states" states" in the terminology of McNeill, 1963) have have an advantage over those which potential which have potential enemies marchland principle principle is esenemies on more than one one border. The marchland pecially series of other pecially important important in that a series other processes processes follow from it. These include (B) the tendency interior states states caught between These include tendency for interior caught between several long periods the several marchland marchlands to fragment over over long periods of dine, time, and and (C) the periodic periodic simplification simplification of geopolitics geopolitics that that occurs occurs when rival fully assimilating the territories marchland states have succeeded in in fully

between them. The latter situation, I have suggested, constitutes (D) characterized by "showdown" "showdown" wars wars of heighta crucial turning point, characterized military ferocity, and resulting resulting either in local empires empires or reened military fragmentation.. newed fragmentation

(3) Overextension Ooerexterzsion and disintegration. A related geographical consideration affects a f f e c t s the possibility possibility of states rapidly losing territory or disintegrating. undergo such crises tegrating. Regimes Regimes undergo crises because because of military military defeats aand/or r d o r economic economic strains resulting from attempts attempts to dominate territories which remote from their home base. which are too remote Lheir home base. Such Such geopolitical geopolitical overextension, I have consists in fighting fighting heavily on terhave suggested, consists ritories are more than one ethnic geographical heartland away ritories which are ethnic/geographical political center. This principle may be of considerable imporfrom the political


Technology and geopolitics lance for the the sociology sociology of revolution, revolution, in that military military disintegration disintegration is a crucial 1975~ 391; 391; Skocpol, revolution (Collins, (Collins, 1975: Skocpol, crucial precondition for revolution geopolitical overextension overextension is a key antecedent antecedent 1979). If this is so, geopolitical condition of revolution. revolution. condition

All of these principles C€I`lprinciples appear to be called into question question by zoth cent tury turn technology. The territorial resource advantage (1) would be irreleempire was established. established. The marckfand marchland prinprint vant once a single world empire dple and its corollaries (2), and the principle of military ctoercriension ciple overextensiort (3), are apparently apparently challenged by modern technology even before a world-empire established. For modern world~empiro is established. modem sea and air power have have put all nations in direct contact with each other. Already the era of the sailing ship made made England militarily contiguous to South Africa and sailing ship India, Spain an empire stretching from Argentina Argentina to the India, and allowed allowed Spain empire stretching Fhilippines. With modem air power, would seem that even even inland inland Philippines. With modern power, it would that wishes to attack states are militarily accessible to any outsider that launched virtually anywhere = them. iCBMs ICBMs can be launched virtually from anywhere to anywhere. Any country that has has an airport can be invaded by plane, just as Cuban Soviet troops have landed in Afghanistan and Ethiopia, or Cuban advantroops in Angola. Air and sea power seem to mean that all the advan~ swept off the world chessboard. chessboard.. No country tages of position are swept enjoys the advantage advantage of having having no enemies enemies to the rear. Every counpotentially* the the enemy other. try, no matter matter how distant, is potentially enemy of every other. 'fliers are no more marchlands. It would then become impossible to lo There say that marchland marchland states will expand. Other geopolitical principles which follow from this one, such as the tendency tendency of middle states to fragment or the occurence of turning points points in military history, would would longer be possible to characno longer longer hold. Similarly, it could no longer overextension; terize any military advance, no matter how distant, as overextension; hence military strains strains leading leading to the collapse of states would no longstates would r




er' hold. er

In what follows, I *Anil will attempt to show that these criticisms are size of states groundless. First, I will show that the size states does not grow in the advanced technology upon advanced industrial industrial era nor do the effects of technology warfare lead us to expect that empires larger than the ones modern warfare that have have already existed are are likely likely to be established. A unified unified world that run, and there is every empire is highly highly unlikely unlikely even in the very long mn, reason reason to expect that there will be multiple contending states states into the indefinite future. Evidence bearing point is presented presented in Part bearing on this point I. Next, military power power that seem seem to Next, I will take up the the two forms of military offer the greatest challenge to the geopolitical principles based on geographical locationlocation. These are sea and and air power, which we will


Politics III. My conclusion will be that far from consider in Parts II and IH. Hom overturning turning classical geopolitical geopolitical rules based on land position, these these two largely dependent upon the same principles principles types of warfare are largely which govern conventional land warfare. traditional states states I. The size of contemporary and traditional

n the past 150 transportation has increased enormously iin The speed of transportation Middle Ages, Ages, armies armies were limited to movement movement by foot years. In the Middle were limited average, and up to 40 miles a day during during (about 10 miles a day on the average, emergencies), by horse, horse, or by boat. Today cars and trucks can move, emergences), suitable highways, highways, 1oo0 Modern over suitable too miles in a day or even even further. Modern ships can cover 5oo miles a day, day, and jet aircraft can cover 12,000. If a state exists by being able to move troops uprise state troops to put down internal internal uprisings or to repel external invaders, there is no doubt that a modern pre-industrial state can cover a large territory much more easily than a pre-industrial one Collld. could. When the Ottoman Ottoman Empire of the 15oos A.D. went on its annual 900 miles: the campaigns in the Balkans, Balkans, its effective range range was about goo distance its army could march from home base in three months and still be able able to return home for return Horne fur the winter (McNeill, 1964). This was about the distance from Constantinople to Vienna, the point point of .far_farthest Ottoman threat, threat. A modern mechanized army could drive this hypothetically, in a day or two. If transportation were all distance, hypothetically, there was to it, there is no reason why a single empire could not extend all across the Eurasian continent from Vladivostok to Gibralempire of the entire tar. One could easily imagine an empire entire globe in which other within 24 hours hours Br every point would be accessible from any other by air and within a few weeks by sea. But this size of this has not happened yet, nor is it very very likely. For the size states is not only a matter of internal transportation but also of ex not only ex-

tem al opposition and of relative expense. The most rapid and farternal ranging military advances of modern times are Small small compared to the military advances speed of unimpeded motor travel. Von Mansteiifs Manstein's army in Russia in 194o covered 40 4o miles a day for 5 consecutive days, this was was consid1940 considered rapid advance, resulted in the the army outrunning its ered a very rapid advance, and it resulted supplies and being forced to stop and wait for them to catch up. supplies zoo miles in 12 days, days., an average of 17 Patton in 1944 advanced some too

miles per day, in one of the most spectacular advances advances in military history history (Van Creveld, Creveld, 1977:159, 217). z17). Despite Despite motorization, it has has been concluded that "the speed of strategic strategic marches had not risen been modem warfare as compared to pre-motorized warsignificantly" in modern 1977':~.79). fare (Van Creveld, 1977:279).


Technology and geopolitics Moreover, modern technology has become increasingly expensive expensive.. Even in classical times a distant campaign by foot soldiers was more expensive than a nearby one because every day of marching meant a day's worth worth of rations which which had to be transported transported along with the day's along with army, as well as rations rations for the people people and animals animals carrying the rations. armies attempted to circumvent this problem by rations. Traditional armies foraging among the local population whenever possible (Van Creveld, 1977:5-108). meant that an army would exhaust local 197715-108). This meant sources of supplies supplies and hence hence would have to keep keep moving if it were to be fed. When an army passed through barren territory or was tied down by a prolonged siege, the foraging foraging method could not be used, upon military and the length length of supply lines lines became a crucial limit upon expansion.

Today the logistics problem is much much more severe. Tradih'onal Traditional armies were usually small, on the order of 5,000 to 25,ooo men in the 14oos A.D., or 6o,ooo (Keegan, 60,000 to 100,000 in the 16oos 1600s and 17oos 1700s (Keegan, 1976:88, 1976:88; Van Creveld, 197734, 38). In the zoth century armies are much larger. Battlefield armies of World War I were on the order of 5oo,ooo to 1,ooo,ooo men; 500,000 men; the German invasion of Russia in World 3,5oo,ooo soldiers (Keegan, 1976:27r; War It II was initiated with 3,500,000 1976:271, Van Creveld, 1977:149). This has made made foraging for supplies impossible, impossible, and modern modern armies armies have have become absolutely dependent dependent on their their supply lines from home base. The ramifications of this logistics problem are considerable. Trucks, tanks, and a supporting supporting highway tanks, highway system eat up their equivalent of daily rations in the fonn form of oil and spare parts. parts. The most modern modem hearer tanks bum of' gasoline per mile. The largest pert heavy burn two gallons of part of modern logistics has come to be the provision ammunition. As late modem provision of ammunition. as the Franco-Prussian war repro sented less war of 1870, ammunition ammunition represented than 1% of total supplies, with most of the :rest rest being taken up with food and other subsistence. In World World War II, these proportions were subsistence amounting amounting to between reversed, with total subsistence between 8% and 12% of supplies supplies (Van Creveld, 1977:233). In the 16oos, artillery guns were supplied supplied with 100 i o n balls for an a n entire campaign; even two centuries rounds during during a war later an infantryman might fire no more than 7 rounds World (Van Creveld, 197735, 1977:35, 81). By comparison, comparison, a single battle in World War I involved an artillery bombardment of 3 million rounds. This trend toward the massive expenditure of ammunition ammunition has continued; continued, modem armed almost almost exclusively modern infantry are armed exclusively with with automatic automatic weapons (Keegan, 1976:213, 1976:211-, ons firing at rates of up to Soo rounds rounds per minute minute (Keegan, 307). A ammunition a modern army can use up as much ammunition in few weeks . 307) as previous previous armies fired off in years years of fighting. Fighting. Thus baggage train train of a modern army moves much Thus although the baggage


Politics faster, hypothetically, than the Roman legions did, it has swollen to overwhelming size. Where an ancient army would have been made u p largely of combat combat troops, in today's 9o% of the troops are today's armies 90% Behind the front is the mannon-combatants. Behind the great great bulk bulk of the army, army, manning, network of headquarters, supply dumps, medical facilining a dense network ties, motor pools, communications centers, and and mechanical pools, railheads, colinrnunications repair 19772293-4). Moving repair facilities (Keegan, 19771293-4). Moving the front line is like nothing so much as an enormous enormous traffic jam. Distant troop troop movements are more expensive than ever before. before- The cost of maintaining half halT a million U.S. troops in Vietnam, Vietnam, for instance, was $40 billion per year (Collins and Cordesman, Cordesrnan, 1978:14), an economic cost which had much to do with the difficulty of defending even a quasi-empire at that distance. With these drawbacks to distant distant military military operations, it ought With ought to

come as no surprise that the maximal nzaNrnrif size of slnfes states has not changed in the last 2000 years. Already Already at the time of the Roman Empire and the Dynasty, the largest states controlled several million Chinese Han I-Ian Dynasty, (TaaEepera, 1979; Lenski, Lenski, 1966). Today the scale remains square miles (Taagepera, about the same. The biggest states in the world today - Canada, China, the United States, Brazil, and Australia - are all approximately Australia between 3 and 4 million square miles, miles, while the rest rest of the world's nations considerably smaller. There is one exception, the presentnations are considerably day U.S.S.R. U.58.S.R. at 8.6 million square miles. About About z/3 213 of this territory is the nearly-empty Siberia. And these lands were taken into nearly-empty spaces of Siberia. taken into ttioos, long before the coming coming of the Russian Russian empire in the 15oos and 16005, the railroads railroads or any of the appurtenances of industrialism industrialism (McEvedy, 1971:16, 48, 61). Russia was able to acquire Siberia purely because the 197116, geopolitical situation allowed it, especially because no other state was in a position to expand into it. Similarly, Canada is a huge huge state because it holds large part of the barren sub-polar because holds a large sub-polar regions, in the absence it_ absence of any military military rivals for it



The largest states of the pre-industrial past - Czarist Russia, the

Mongol empire, empire, the major Chinese dynasties, dynasties, the Spanish empire empire larger were also as large as those of today. They were a good deal larger than an average~sized modern modern state. France, whose boundaries boundaries have 400 years (McEvedy, 197126, changed very little in the past 4oo 197116, 80), So), is country in Europe at z1o,ooo 21.0,ooo square miles. And And tiny today the largest country Switzerland (16,000 square miles) has been independent independent almost conSwitzerland (16,ooo tinuously since the Middle Ages (McEvedy, 197126, 30) and shows shows continuing so for the foreseeable future. every sign of continuing In short, there is no historical trend trend toward toward bigger states in the world. There is no reason to expect expect that an empire modern world. empire subjugatsubjugating the the entire globe will ever come into existence. the same token, ing e>dstence. By the


Technology and geopolitics small-sized states in the there will be a good many medium and smal.l~si;zed centuries to come, as well as a few larger ones. The very technology centuries transportation and warfare which of modem transportation which appears appears superficially superficially to make a world empire possible actually carries such a heavy logistics make load as to limit its own sphere sphere of operations. The situation is analogous effective operation gous to the limits upon upon effective operation of a large-scale large~scale business and geographorganization under under conditions of technical complexity and ical dispersion. Such organizations organizations had to shift to an autonomous divisional structure and away from a Centralized one (Chandler, 1962). The military/political military/'political analogue analogue of such decentralization decentralization is a plurality of states. states. Among this plurality, traditional geopolitical relations should continue continue to hold . II. The vulnerability of sea power

turn to the question of whether whether land-based geopolitical prinWe now tum ciples fhold o l l when when other forms of long-distance long-distance transportation are are considered. Presumably all states whit which are accessible by water are militarily contiguous to eadi each other, and hence any advantage or pattern associated with relative geographical location would be circumtern fortiori instance of this mutual military vented. Air power is an a fortiori accessibility. For this reason sea power is a particularly interesting test case, as it has existed already for several millennia, millennia, and its patterns may be seen seen in a good deal of historical historical evidence. terns There have have been relatively few overseas empires compared to the number states throughout world number of land-based conquest states world history. This is especially true of the Orient. No significant significant maritime empires are found in the indigenous history history of India, China, Korea, or Southeast and briefly Asia. Iapan Japan conquered Korea and Manchuria after after 1885, and held much of China, China, Southeast Southeast Asia, 1930s-1940s held Asia, and Oceania in the 19305 -19408.


Many of the ancient Greek Greek and Phoenician city-states founded coloMany

nies around the Mediterranean and Black Seas but were unable to keep control of them as overseas possessions. The only major seaempire times was the Athenian, Athenian, which controlled a tribe tribuempire of ancient times 40-as s.c. used ttary r y empire B.C. Rome used empire in the Aegean Aegean Sea during during the mid 4oos the Mediterranean Mediterranean sealanes for tor supplies, conquests were based supplies, but its conquests primarily on land power. In the Soos-rooos A.D., Scandinavian Scandinavian sea 8oos-iooos A.D., raiders conquered conquered England, Normandy, Normandy, and Sicily, but except for a overseas domination, constituted popubrief period period of Danish Danish overseas domination, these constituted lation lation movements movements to new territories territories raker rather than than multiterritorial mu ltiterritorial emernpires. England held major major parts of France during 1135-1200, and 135o~14oo, and made again 1350-r4oo, made yet a third but ultimately unsuccessful attempt at conquest conquest 1415-40. 1415 --4.0. Venice held Crete and various Aegean


Politics posts from 1200 1 2 0 0 tto o 17oo. Spain held Sicily Silly 1400-1700, southern and Central Italy 1500-1700, much of North and South America 1550182o, and the Philippines 1565-1900. Fortugal Portugal held Brazil from the 1820, 1500s 1500s to 1820 1820 and numerous trading posts along the coasts of Africa and South and East Asia in the 1500s 15oos and 16oos. 16005. The Netherlands Netherlands EX'seized a number of these these coastal bases in the early 16oos 16005 and expanded to encompass all Indonesia from the late 18oos panded 1800s until 1940. France held held Canada portions of Africa from the 1870s 187os to Canada 1600-1760, 1600-1760, portions about 1960, and Indo-China from the 1880s to 1940. England held North Canada 1760-1930, major porAmerican colonies 1620-1780, Canada pot'North American 1945, Australia and New Zealand from tions of India from 1800-50 to 1945, about 1880 to 1960. 1800-40 to 1945, and large a r e African territories territories from about 1960. States held the Philippines 1900-40 The United States 1900-40 and Puerto Puerto Rico and Hawaii from 1900 to the present. No Latin African, or Hawaii Latin American, American, African, Middle Eastern states have held significant overseas territories. A number of generalizations gen eralizations can be made. (A) Maritime empires are relatively hard to establish. establish, This is implied by the infrequency of sea conquests compared number of land.-based land-based conquests conquests in world conquests compared to the number history. Moreover, unlike history. unlike land conquests, conquests, successful maritime conquests have tended tended to move into into a military vacuum. Rome's sea conquest of Britain was opposed opposed only by small and disorganized tribes. quest The European Americas, Africa, the East Indies, European empires in the Americas, indies, and faced only Oceania faced only tribal opposition, opposition, or at most the advanced horticultural states of Mexico and the Andes, Andes. India, when conquered by England, England.. was on a higher level of civilization than the Aztecs, but it was militarily divided among a large number contending states states. number of contending The conquest of India was due primarily primarily to the willingness willingness of the Indian princes to bargain for alliances with the Europeans, as well as Indian 1976:39-60) . to the superiority of European troop discipline (Mason, 1976139-60). every instance, sea power has been able to take land territory only In almost emery when there was no more than rnininzal minimal opposition. Virtually Virtually no sea-based

power has ever conquered a civilized territory on the same level of whereas land-based coneconomic and military organization as itself, whereas quests of this sort are frequent in world quests world history. In the few cases where sea invasions have have succeeded succeeded against opposition opposition on a similar economic level, there has always been a conjuncture conjuncture of conventional conventional economic land-based enemies Sim Liltaneously pressing the defeated party. The simultaneously Norman conquest Norman conquest of Sicily took advantage advantage of a situation situation of feudal d the the Norman fragmentation, and Norman landing in England England in 1066 occurred occurred fragmentation, an precisely the time that English English forces (successfully) in at precisely forces were were fighting fighting (successihlly) the north against Norwegian invaders supporting a feudal rival. ]aJa-

pan's conquests took place at a time .when when China was fragmented by Naval power thus is successful only on the same geopoliticivil wars. Naval geopoliti1174 '74

Technology and geopolitics cal rules as operate in conventional conventional land warfare: warfare: the sea power can expand if it acts as one of several rnarchlands rnarchlands converging upon a land caught in state. The conquered states (England, India, China) were caught the disadvantageous disadvantageous position of being in the middle between opposing forces, and one or more of these multiple enemies has always another land-based force. been another drSruptiorz. Most mar(B) Sea-based empires are especially vulnerable to disruption. itime empires have have held foreign territories for relatively relatively short periods in comparison to land conquests. conquests. The longest-held maritime maritirnepossespossessions were the rather small conquests of Venice (500 (_5_oo years). Among major possessions, Portugal Fortugal held Brazil 300 300 years while Spain held the Philippines Philippines 335 years, Sicily 300 270 years, too years, Latin America z7o and Italy 200 zoo years. England held held Canada 170 1.70 years, the Atlantic colonies 150, and sizable portions of lIndia 100-150 years. nu The al! 100-150 Netherlands held major portions of Indonesia some 100 Netherlands too years. European possessions in Africa were mostly on the order of 5o 5o~8o -So years. Japan held Korea and Manchuria 5o years, and controlled China, Southeast Asia, and Oceania about 10 lo years. The ancient Athenian sea-empire lasted 60 years. The medieval Danish empire had major years Even at the upper end of the sbectro spectrum, overseas power only 20 to years. m. then, sea-empires do not match the length of the major land-empires numerous instances of world history, of which there are numerous instances lasting 4004oo-.-


800 Soo years (Collins, 1978). tg78). The more long-lasting empires reigned over territories with with a low level of indigenous social organization and isolated from significant

military rivalries. Maritime conquest states which were close to the arena of major land powers have been extremely vulnerable. The Athenian sea-state was destroyed by war with neighboring land Sparta and Macedonia. Macedonia. The dissolution of the modern Europowers, Sparta pean overseas overseas empires has occurred, virtually every instance. instance, be beoccurred, in virtually cause of wars among the European Europea n homelands. France France lost most of its

overseas possessions tO to England while fighting Prussia in the Seven


Years War (1756-63) and during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic uring the

wars (1789-1815). During During the Napoleonic conquest of Spain, the wars refused Spanish colonists in Latin America re fused to recognize French control.. After 1815 the European powers tried to restore the Spanish ml empire, but the revolutionary revolutionary armies were too strong and by 1823 all of Spanish America was independent. Portugal too lost Brazil in the aftermath upheaval following following French military aftermath of political upheaval French and British military operations upon its home territory. operations upon Its territory. The U.S. owes its independence independence to the vulnerability of maritime empires to wars near their their homelands. When the colonies seceded empires homelands. When seceded in success because the resource 1776, they had little little chance of military military success


Politics advantage (principle #1) was overwhelmingly on the side of the Britadvantage ish, with a population population ratio of 12 million to 3 million. The British British succe ssfully occupied all major colonial cities, and the Americans Americans lost successfully

virtually every battle for the first few years of the war. But the outbreak of European war made made the British unable unable to keep an uninteruninterrupted naval pipeline to their forces forces in America. America. A brief success by rupted lo their the French French navy cut off British troops without supplies or reinforcements, forced their surrender surrender in 1781, and assured American indeindependence. lt did not even take a very strong push to break the colonies loose. After the British pulled their they their forces out of America, they were able to beat the French French rather rather badly badly at sea. But this this illustrates what is fatal about maritime maritime empires: the naval links need be broken away. only for a short time before before the conquest conquest slips slips away. The same pattern is found in the wave of decolonization after Japanese drove drove the French, British, and Dutch out World War II. The ]apanese Asia, and when the Japanese were of Southeast Asia, were themselves defeated a few years later, later, the former owners owners could no longer get back in. With With their pinned down with Germany and then the U.S.S.R., the their forces pinned European European powers had had no choice but to let their former colonies become independent. Essentially the same dynamics dynamics prevailed in India and Africa. was the Africa. The only colonial empire to hold hold out was the Portuguese, which had had the advantage of staying neutral in World War II and could concentrate keeping Angola, concentrate its troops on keeping Angola. Decolonization Decolonization thus thus cannot be attributed simply to an upsurge upsurge of nationalism. For there is no feelings per se result in transfers of power power in evidence that ideological feelings the absence vulnerabilities (Skocpol, 1979). absence of military military resources resources and vulnerabilities Multi-ethnic conquest conquest states Multi-ethnic states like Russia, which expanded entirely on land frontiers, have not been decolonized. It is the special vulnerability empires that encourages both the both century nerability of overseas empires century national movements, and those aatt the turn of the 19th 19th century in the Americas.

It is easy to see why sea power is so vulnerable to disruption. In order for naval power must succeed in putpower to operate operate offensively, it must ting land land forces forces ashore to occupy occupy territory. territory. But sea-borne landings have never been very debacle have never very effective against serious resistance. The debacle one instance instance of this. Virof the Bay of Pigs in Cuba in 1961 is only one hially the only landing operations that that have been successful against a tually

major power were those of the latter part of World War II. But the Japanese-held Pacific were vulnerable to American Iapanese-held islands in the Pacific troops precisely precisely because Japan's maritime empire; troops because they they were part of .Iapan's maritime empire; they were were lost because they had to be supplied by sea. And the Allied landings landings in North Africa, Italy, and France were possible only be176

Technology and geopolitics cause Germany was overextended overextended and was collapsing collapsing under land attack on its eastern eastern front. frontattack (C) Sea power is most effective defensively. Naval forces forces add add something something overall military strength, strength, as in the American American d civil to overall i ! war or in World combined with sufficiently sufficiently strong strong land War II, provided provided they are combined forces. But the real importance importance of sea power is defensive. defensive. The greatest weapon weapon is the sea itself. It is much easier to destroy destroy a fleet, and an destroy troops on land. That is why army under convoy, than to destroy battles have always been much quicker quicker and more more decisive decisive than naval battles have always been much land battles. battles. The Creeks Greeks wrecked wrecked the Persian invasion invasion fleet at Salamis Salamis in one day, just as the British cut short the entire entire German naval offensive of World War Il in one day at Iutland Jutland in 1916, and the American navy crippled the Japanese Midway on Lune June 4, 1942. The American navy crippled Japanese at Midway battles have been been detersive defensive ones: Salamis, crucial sea battles ones: the Greeks at Salamis, the beating back the invasion Spanish Armada the British British beating invasion attempt attempt of the Spanish in 1588, and invasion fleet in and Lord Nelson breaking breaking up Napoleon's Napoleon's invasion 1805 18o5 before it had a chance to clear the Mediterranean. mount an invasion invasion across across the Precisely because it is so hard to mount water, islands islands have have been been the most impregnable states. Japan, Iapan, for water, impregnable of states. example, has never in its entire history. never been been successfully successfully invaded invaded in The Mongols Mongols tried tried it twice twice after conquering most of the the rest of the The most of their their forces each time. time. The U.S. obtained world, but lost most forces each Japanese surrender surrender after dropping atomic atomic bombs bombs on it, but hesitated hesitated Japanese to land otherwise own otherwise for fear of expected expected enormous enormous casualties casualties to its own forces. forces. At the other end of the world, England has been been safe for almost a thousand years, since the Vikings attacked a weak and divided kingdom. kingdom. The Byzantine Empire was able to survive in Constantinople for 100 against strong Ottoman land forces because IOO years against because it was able to resupply through its control of the sea. And Holland held out against land invasion of Spanish forces in the 1570s by retreating for brief periods to their their ships. Here naval power acted to

preserve a state rather than to extend one. I would would conclude that sea power does not circumvent the marchlan landd principle principle (-#2) in geopolitics, geopolitics, and that sea power power exemplifies exemplifies rather than displaces other principles. Hypothetically, alll countries other principles. Hypothetically, 11 contiguous to each other, that touch touch on the oceans oceans are contiguous other, and hence none of them could be said to have a true marchland advantage. But it is very difficult for states to conquer conquer others across the water; constate versely., it is realtively realtively eas easyy to defend against seaborne seaborne attack. A state versely, with maritime enemies is not usually much threatened unless it is with usually much overwhelmingly overwhelmingly deficient in numbers and economic resources (prin#1), or if it is simultaneously ciple #t), simultaneously threatened by land land enemies on 177

Po I If' i's Politics other fronts (principle #2). other #2), Moreover, it is not really accurate to rercgard gard waterways waterways as making all coastal states equally vulnerable to each other's other's naval threats. Naval forces from nearby bases are much more successful than forces from distant ones. England thus likely to be successful served as a convenient jumping-oft jumping-off place for the 1944 landings in Normandy, (183o~ Normandy, and France was able to hold coastal Algeria longer longer (1830196o) than more more remote parts of its African empire. This suggests that tor a modified version of the marchland principle may be calculated for distances by water as well as by land. By the same same token, the longer vulnerable it is to disruption. distance a naval power covers, the more vulnerable States can risk collapse at home by overextension at sea as well as on land, here land-based geopolitical principle (#3) seems to here again a land-based hold hold for [or water water as well. The doctrine of Mahan Mahan (1918), (1978), then, is largely largely mistaken. The fate of themselves is largely determined naval empires empires themselves determined by Br the balance of land forces affecting their homelands. homelands. Sea power is ancillary ancillary to land geopolitics. geopolitics. 1 III. Air power and its geopolitical effects Air power has become a major feature feature of zoth century warfare. Since all states states are vulnerable to air attack from all other states, the exisother states, tence of air power should presumably presumably result in a total rewriting of the geopolitics. All positional positional advantages advantages and disadvantages disadvantages rules of geopolitics. will suggest, would disappear. disappear. Itwill suggest, however, however, that this is not so, and that traditional land configurations configurations continue traditional continue to be central. The military military power takes takes a number number of forms, which use of air power which should be considconsidered separately. We will deal in sequence with ered with tactical air power, strategic air power (including power in relation to sea (including nuclear), air power and land forces, and the use of air power in moving troops for land operations.

Tactical air air power The tactical tachlcaI use of air power in battle provides the strongest strongest case for the uniqueness of modern warfare. Beginning in World War modern points up up one one of the major major weaknesses in in the geopolitical approach approach of Modelski Modelski I1 This points (1983), which measures measures world world power power by the size navies. See also also Zolbcrg Zolberg 11983) (1953), size of navies. {tg83) for overestimation of the role role of sea power, which appeared a critique of this riveiestimaition which in fact appeared salient only during during a few recent recent centuries centuries of European European history. history. In In comparison comparison to the full be»opoliLical geopolitical theory presented presented in in this chapter and in in Chapter 8. 8, the Modelski Modelski model model deals only with with a particular form form of resource resource advantage, advantage, and omits all all post post tonal principles principles (marchland (marchlands and interior interior states, overextension). Hence Hence itit proposes proposes a tional states, overextension). simplistic rise-and-fall of world hegemonies. hegemonies, in place of what much simplistic cyclic rise-and-fall what is actually actually a much more complex complex pattern world history. pattern of world

178 UP

Technology and geopolitics It, control of the skies became an important II, important element in land battles. The most striking victories of the war all occurred when one side had overwhelming air superiority. overwhelming superiority. Early Early in the war the German blitzkrieg with tanks tanks but took Poland and most of the rest of Europe not only with 1970:28, 66-79, 66-79, 135-6). with control of the air (Liddell Hart, Hart, 197o:z8, 13,5-6). German were instrumental paratroopers and glider glider forces were instrumental in taking the Netherlands and Crete. Airplane firepower firepower in the form of machine machine Netherlands devastating against against land forces on guns and bombs was particularly devastating the march and against supply lines. lt It is partly for this reason that the Germans were able to make such rapid conquests aatt first, even Germans freq ently faced though they frequently faced forces that outnumbered outnumbered them locally. Japanese rapidly took ludo-China, Malaya, Similarly, the Iapanese Indo-China, Singapore, Malaya, and Burma in the opening months months of 1942, sometimes sometimes against against larger defensive forces, because Laban Japan had the only substantial air force in the area and was able to exploit its advantage advantage in maneuverability maneuverability Hart, 197o:z12-2377. 19702212-237). Toward the end of the war, war, the situation situation (Liddell llart, reversed. The Allies, especially especially the Americans, Americans, achieved comwas reversed. plete pete air superiority. superiority. The D-day landings in Normandy Normandy in 1944 and the earlier landings in Sicily and Southern Southern Italy were successful above all because because the Germans were unable to counter them from Hom the air (Liddell Hart, 1970:464, phase of the war, es(Liddell Hart, 197o:464, 547, 559). The final phase pecially thrusts of Patton's army across the Rhone, pedally the rapid rapid tank thrusts Rhone, were carried out with the Allies able to string out long supply lines in perfect immunity, while the Germans were limited Gentians were limited to sporadic supply supply movements under the cover of darkness. movements darkness. there were several clear limitations upon upon the effeceffecNevertheless there tiveness Russian tiveness of air forces. They had little Little overall effect on the Russian front, where opposing opposing air forces neutralized each other for most of the war. Air power proved insignificant insignificant in the island warfare of the Pacific. The U.S. generally had air superiority superiority and was able to cover cover landing landing operations operations with it, but the long and difficult business of dis»

lodging the Japanese from their defensive positions required a heavy expenditure of ground ground troops. The battle of Okinawa, Okinawa, for example, towards the end of the war, took 285,000 z85,ooo Americans Americans to overcome 100,ooo 100,000 Japanese and resulted in 160,000 casualties on both sides (Liddell Hart, 197o:683-686). The Korean war showed Hart, 19701683-686). showed the same same limitation. Here U.S. U.5. air superiority superiority was overwhelming. Chinese and ratio. Nevertheless North North Korean aircraft were shot shot down at a 14 to 1I ratio. the war ended in a costly stalemate of massive ground ground forces. Tactical air power, then, may sometimes sometimes make a difference in the conduct of battle. highly fluid situation battle. It lt is more effective in a highly situation and whe whenn one home base with greatly greatly one or both sides are operating far from home base with extended supply case of sea power, extended supply lines. lines. As we have have seen in the ease power, air


Politics power is militarily -effective primarily when one side has overwhelmsuperiority in that that arm arm_- In other cases it is less other eases less effective, and ing superiority conventional land forces are preeminent. preeminent. In every case, however, the use of tactical air power is local, local, requiring bases within within easy reach of the battlefield. turn usually battlefield. These These in tum usually depend upon control control by land forces.

Strategic air power A mo more relevant use of air power power is not its tacre geopolitically relevant use in battle but its use for strategic bombing. Here the aim is to tical use knock out the main main source of a state's strength by destate's geopolitical strength stroying its industries and transport and terrorizing its population. transport Germans tried War II The Germans tried to cripple British Brihlsh capacity to resist resist in World 'War by bombing bombing London and the industrial Midlands, Midlands, first with convenV~2 missiles. The Allies retaliated tional aircraft and later by V-1 and V-2 by massive bombing bombing of German culminating in the German industrial cities, culminating destruction of Dresden in 1945. Other Other strategic bombing attacks in~ ineluded fire-bombing of Tokyo and other Japanese Japanese cities towards cluded the fire-bornbing the end of of the war. In the Vietnam war the U.S. used both strategic bombing long~range B-52s and short-range tactical strikes bombing from longwange strikes from helicopter gunships gunships in an effort to cut supply supply lines and destroy enemy countryside. amy bases in the the countryside. The morality of attacking attacking civilians in this kind of warfare has been severely criticized. From a strictly geopolitical geopolitical standpoint, moreover, moreover, it has not usually been very effective. The U.SU.5. air force expended expended more total firepower in Vietnam than did both both sides together in World War II but without stopping the ultimate victory of the Communist ground forces. Probably the effect on the native population munist ground was the same same as the effect of the German bombing bombing of Britain, rousing hatred and stiffening the will to resist. Analyses of strategic bombing carried out after attacks on after World World War War II concluded concluded that that the bombing attacks

German cities were more effective at killing civilians than in destroydestroy~ ing German (Liddell Hart, German military installations and industry industry (Liddell 1970:589-612). The reason was that military and industrial installa1970589-612). tions were much better better hidden and better defended, defended, while civilians were left largely in the open. The same thing doubtless was true in thing doubtless Japan, and later in Vietnam Britain and Iapan, Vietnam.. cess of strategic bombing was the Asuccess The only unqualified suc bomb attacks which brought attacks which brought World World War War II to an end. end. Yet even even this add up to a major change case does does not add change in the principles principles of warfare. warfare. nuclear attacks The nuclear attacks could only have have been been launched because because U.S. forces forces had worn down the ]apanese Japanese throughout throughout the Pacific. Japanese air cover was gone, gone, leaving the island island open raids, both concover was open to U.S. raids,


Technology and geopolitics ventional and nuclear. Three Three years of American advances across the them ample Pacific had given them ample air bases within striking distance of japan. It is doubtful would have forced Japan. doubtful that a U.S. nuclear attack a?taJ< woulduhave Japan to surrender surrender early in the war; war, a troop landing landing would still have Iapan been very difficult, and more would simply more likely likely Japan would simply have have been forced to withdraw withdraw its offensive forces abroad and negotiate negotiate a peace settlement. even in this extreme settlement. The lesson, even extreme instance, instance, is that that air conventional military factors, but only if power can add something something to conventional those conventional factors are already strong. strong. The nuclear arms race of recent years and the extreme destrucdestructiveness of atomic weapons have convinced many observers that we are in an entirely new era of international politics. Because ICBMs can be launched from virtually anywhere on the globe, it appears that the world has shrunk shrunk to a single battlefield. Nevertheless, it does not follow that the growth or decline decline of states would follow would occur in terms terms of principles other than those enunciated at the outset of this paper. For the relative nuclear striking power of states states depends depends on their economic strength, which the same factor determining which is the determining conventional conventional military power (principle (principle #1). If a nuclear nuclear war were to take place, there are two main outcomes outcomes possible: either either one side would be devastated devastated or both sides would be be.. hr the first case, the state would benefit from the destruction In state that would would be the one that could successfully successfully move conventional ground ground forces onto the destroyed destroyed territory territory (when became habitable again). (when it became again). This would undoubtedly be an adjacent state. state. If Iraq or Libya, for example, were to destroy Israel in a surprise nuclear attack, nevterritoertheless it would not be Iraq or Libya that would pick up the ten'itory; it would be one of Israel's immediate neighbors. Hence convenry, borne out. tional positional advantages (principle (principle #2) would still be borne In the second case, both belligerent states would be destroyed. But showdown wars mutual destructhis is not not unprecedented. unprecedented. Such Such showdown wars to mutual destruct so n have occurred as far back as ancient China, as part of a convention tional dynamic expansion of rival states states (Collins, 1978). 1q77). The outcome of mutual nuclear destruction today, today, as of self-destructive self-destructive stalemates in the past, would particular powers from internawould be to remove these particular tional importance, and allow their territories to be picked up by new new states on the periphery. The process is a corollary to principle 2(d) states above. land Air vs. sea vs. land use of air power is against ships. shipsThe most important military use sea battles battles have tended to be We have already noticed noticed that sea be quick and has usually usually put put the weaker one decisive. The stronger fleet has one on the 181

Pfrllfics Politics bottom of the sea within a few hours, ending ending a naval threat threat once and made navies even more vulnerable. for all. Modern air power has made Accordingly, carrier has become the most most important important Accordingly, the aircraft carrier weapon in the fleet, fleet., and the old-fashioned battleship has become

virtually extinct. In World War II the most important naval battles were fought by fleets that never came in sight of each other. At the battle of Midway in 1942 and at the Leyte Gulf in 1944, 1944, planes from American carriers effectively destroyed the Japanese navy, the American navy, although the fleets never got closer than 200 though zoo miles (Liddell Hart, 1970349-53, fought from aircraft carriers 197o:549-53, 622-28). These battles were fought carriers

because the fleets fleets were sea. But ships are vulnerable because were far out at sea. vulnerable whenwhenever they are in range range of land-based land~based aircraft too. Hence Hence air bases are a deterrent against naval attacks upon a coastal territory. Air significant deterrent power makes naval power even more difficult to apply than before, even more impervious to and makes any country protected by water even invasion. negated what geopo~ invasion. The air power of the both century has negated critical effects sea power had in previous centuries. previous centuries. . Air power itself depends in the end upon land power. Although modern very long modern aircraft have a very long range, range, their their effective military military use depends upon there being bases which are close enough to their Generally speaking, the more maneuverable maneuverable the plane has to targets. Generally order to respond to battlefront conditions, the shorter the range be in order of operation. Huge strategic bombers have have a range of 12,000 miles. The target distance, of course, can be only half the total range if the plane expects to be able able to return. The more air power is expected to play a role in actual fighting, must be the bases to the fighting, the closer must battlefield. Maneuverable Maneuverable fightenbombers fighteebornbers suitable for ground support and for defense against enemy fighters lighters have a range between 400 400 1500 miles, which means must be based within 750 miles and 15oo means they must miles of the battlefield (Collins and Cordesman, Cordesman, 1978:14o1). These air bases 1978:14o-1). could be on a carrier carrier in nearby waters, unless unless the enemy has sufficould

cient countervailing air power, in which case the bases must be on army. Local land power is necessary to make land held by one's own own army. tactical air power possible. down then, to relatively small spaces as geopolitics geopolitics We are getting getting down goes. It may be hypothetically hypothetically true that air strikes strikes make make all nations vulnerable to every other other nation, and hence that the pure pure marchland advantage advantage no longer exists. erdsts. But in the world of actual warfare, effecwithin 1000 miles, tive military strikes from the air require land land bases bases within modern states. states. Effecwhich is well within the conventional scale of modern Ef§ec~ five air power is essentially local, and hence the geographical position tive of states, with or without enemies enemies directly to the rear rear on land, concontinues important for their military fate. tinues to be important


Technology Technology and geopolitics Air troop landing

Faratroops might seem to be an exception. By combining air Paratroops ground-holding forces, it might seem possible to transportation with ground-holding pick up pieces of territory anywhere on the globe without having to anywhere OII move step by step across the land in between. But in fact, fact, paratroop range than air strikes. strikes. operations have have been even more limited in range enemy lines would soon be lost if there Troops dropped far behind behind enemy were no reinforce them. Hence paratroop operations Hence paratroop opera sons are never no way to reinforce carried out in hostile territory very far from a land force that is supposed to link up with it. In World War II the most remote paratroop paratroop operations were only 100 100 miles behind enemy lines, and most of the successful operations Hart, operations only leapfrogged 10 miles or so (Liddell Hart, 197067-69, 135-6, 135-6, 544sf 640-1). 640-1). 197o:67-69, 544-5» Recently we have have seen instances of troop air lifts into foreign territories. Soviet troops troops moved into Afghanistan winter of 1979 Afghanistan in the winter by first taking the airport at Kabul. Earlier, some ;o,ooo 20,000 Cuban and Russian troops were moved to Ethiopia, 5oo 500 to South Yemen, and 15,000 already a foothold r5,ooo to Angola. But in every every instance there was already country. The Russians Rus in the country. and Cubans were invited into Africa by cited into their their allies, hence there there Ewas no military problem It in using local airports. The situation conTd could 'had hardlyJ.. be the same if the territory were completely hostile. Even in Afghanistan, Afghanistan, where the Russians have opposition, the way for their invasion was oreoared prepared by a faced heavy opbosition, friendly head of government and by the fact fact that Russian advisers friendly were already already present present at the airfield. The Russian airlift into Kabul speeded up Lip Russian troop movement, lend border between movement, but the land Afghanistan and the U.S.S.R. U-S.S.R. was primarily what made Afghanistan primarily what made Afghanistan Afghanistan vulnerable vulnerable. . Moreover, air transportation is the most expensive expensive of all, and this is especially true for heavy military equipment. Airlifts feasible only especially Airlifts are feasible only for short periods and under highly favorable conditions. local Local allies are always needed where where one lands, lands, and any real opposition opposition would would make airborne air- borne operations and supply supply extremely difficult to sustain. Given the expense alone, it is not surprising that that no successful war which troops troops (including the Vietnam war) has yet been carried out in which (including were moved mainly by air. Overall, then, there is no evidence that airpower airpower eliminates the importance contiguities by land. Tactical Tactical and strategic importance of geographical geographical contiguities strategic air power are effective only when combined with conventional ground forces, and the movement of such such forces is strongly influground enced by geographical configurations. neutralizes configurations. Air power largely neutralizes troops to hold hold overseas overseas sea power, hence making making the sea transport of troops


Pofitfcs Poetics territories even more difficult than in previous centuries. And the territories troops by air is such that any heavy expense of moving troops heavy reliance upon upon it drastically escalates escalates the costs of warfare, and enhances enhances its chances chances of producing producing economic economic and political strain strain in the homeland, with all overextension (principle #3). the political effects of overextension #3). Air power, then, patterns but not only does not challenge challenge conventional geopolitical patterns them even stronger. appears to make make them Conclusion Conclusion

technologies of long-distance modern Modern technologies long-distance warfare, along with modern transportation transp oration and communication, communication, do not result in any major change ly it is highly in the Certainly unthe underlying principles of geopolitics. Certain highly unlikely that a global empire will ever be established. But is it not possiModern technology, instead instead of makble to reverse this expectation? Modern seems to make it very difficult for ing a world empire possible, in fad fact seems any state to expand beyond beyond its present boundaries. One might conthen, that future geopolitics will differ from that of the past in jecture, then, that state boundaries boundaries will be much more stable than formerly. The than formerly. defensive use of sea and air power, and above all the proliferation of nuclear amis, forestall any expansion at all. arms, might seem to forestall This conclusion does does not seem warranted. Empires cannot readily be established by modern sea or air power, but it remains possible to fight on land. There have been numerous conventional conventional wars since the atomic atomic era began began in 1945, and these are likely likely to continue continue to change control in the future in much the same way as in the boundaries of control past. example, past. The expansion expansion of reunifiecl reunified Vietnam in Indo-Cltina, Indo-China, for example, Himalayan states, fits convenor of India against against Pakistan Fakistan and the Himalayan conventional principles quite well (Collins, 1978), o f At1978). The political future of Africa, to name just one area, seems certain to involve some geopolitical change, and this will doubtless doubtless follow conventional conventional geopolitical prin-

ciples. Even outer space, which has opened up recently as a potential potential arena [or for military action, does not appear likely to violate the geopochapter. Colonization of the moon litical principles principles defended in this chapter. or any other other extraterrestrial satellite or planet planet would would depend upon upon a type and on air-borne supplies. For this reason, such type of air power and such

outerspace vulnerable to disruption outerspace empires empires would be very vulnerable disruption and unun~ maintain. States which usually expensive to maintain. which tried to hold them against serious military opposition would almost certainly be unsuccessful and would also risk loss of their their conventional territories via the dynamics of overextension, overextension. means a total mystery. In sum, the geopolitics geopolitics of the future is by no means total mystery. 184 184

Technology geopolitics Tecknfalogy and geopolififs The historical record provides a good basis for principles by means of which the future power of states may be projected. I will suggest in the next chapter that one such application application can be made to long-term chapter that future power of the U.S.S.Rchanges in the future U.S.S.R.



The future decline decline of the Russian Empire

The power of states may be indexed by the expansion, contraction, or stability of state boundaries over long periods of time. This power depends on the ability of a government to concentrate concentrate more military forces at any point point within within these these boundaries than any rival can bring to bear. bear. By this definition, the power power of a state may overlap or fall short short of its formal boundaries, although although the long-term movement of boundboundaries is a good empirical approximation approximation of this power. A state that thai can other states beyond its formal boundaries may intervene militarily in other be referred referred to as possessing an "empire," "empire," In this sense, the Soviet Union has an empire, as indicated by the presence of its forces in Afghanistan. We may speak Eastern Europe, Europe, Mongolia, and Afghanistan. speak of the Russian Empire in a broader sense as well, in that the long-term history of Russian expansion has brought a large number number of nonconquest. From a geopoRussian ethnic ethnic groups inside its borders by conquest. geopo~ litical viewpoint, viewpoint, there is complete between Muscovite Muscovite and critical complete continuity between Tsarist Russia. Tsarist Russia Russia and Soviet Russia. Changes state boundaries and of imperial controls controls almost almost always always Changes of state including internal wars.1 wa1's.1 For this reason, long-term involve wars, including reason, long-term geopolitical smooth and continuous continuous but occur in geopolitical changes are not smooth sudden jerks. Typically, Typically, geopolitical geopolitical patterns patterns take effect over a minimum of fifty fifty years through several centuries, whereas wars typically approaches to last no longer longer than five years. There have been various approaches predicting the outbreak of wars {Modelski, (Modelski, 1978; 1978, Doran and Parsons, 1980; Organski and Kuglen, 1980) although no clear-cut conclusions 1980, Organski have yet been established. But if the timing of the initiation of wars wars remains uncertain, it is possible possible to show the pattern of the the long-term long-term pattern outcomes outcomes of wars in terms terms of state expansion expansion and contraction. contraction. The process deterministic. The predicted process may be stochastic stochastic rather than deterministic. predicted decline pinned down to a particular year. decline of Russian Russian power power cannot be pinned particular year, 1

The sale sale or or voluntary voluntary session cession of territories also also occurs occurs occasionally historical The occasionally in the the historical record, but typically typically in a diplomatic diplomatic context context weighed weighed by considerations considerations of military d, but recor vulnerability. alliance and and vulnerability. alliance


Future decline of the Russian Empire It does appear, however, however, that that the Russian Empire has already expansion and is entering reached its limit after five hundred hundred years of expansion a period of long-term decline. Particular combinations of events may territorial power within the even bring about precipitous losses of territorial next thirty years, with the likelihood of extensive decline becoming very high for the twenty-first twenty-first century. The geopolitical theory presented presented here (Collins, 1978) contains a series of causal conditions, the results of which cumulate and infact that factor means means that state teract. The fact that there is more than a single factor power particular, economic power is not simply a cyclical rise and fall. In particular, economic and military military resources interact with geographical position, in that the latter affects both the number of potential enemies faced by different states frontiers of states and the relative difficulty of using military force at frontiers varying distances. Hence once economic advantage advantage alone is not enough to prevent a state's decline, in certain geopolitical configurations. geopolitical configurations. Each principle will first be presented separately, and then all will be applied to historical changes changes in Russian power. applied Size and resource resource advantage advantage Other larger and wealthier Other things being equal, larger wealthier states will win wars against smaller and poorer states, and hence against hence will expand while the latter contract. For much historical data, the the relative strength of states quality of is roughly roughly indexed indexed by sheer territorial territorial size. size. But it is also the quality the land that determines the size of the population on it, and hence the military resources that can be drawn from it. lftfhere Where data are available, it is possible to measure the size and resource advantage by available, measure advantage population and economic production (see Singer et al., al., 1972). Both are important, in that military power is a function of the size of the economy and of the population, not of the average average economic level per individual. A very large country with a rather small GNP per capita will nevertheless be a significant significant military power. The size size and re-

source advantage is cumulative over time, as territorially expanding states increase the base from which they can draw military resources, resources, which which in turn allows even greater territorial territorial expansion? Neighboring states at a size and resource disadvantage experience cumulative decline. decline . Positional advantage

States ("marcl1States with militarily capable neighbors in fewer directions ("marchland states") states") have an advantage advantage over states states with powerful neighbors 2

Bounding (1962:237-9) representation of cumulative advantage Boullding (1962'237-9) gives gives a formal formal representation advantage in the particular two-person games. games. particular case case of two-person


Politics in more directions ("interior states"). states"}. States that that back up against against a natural barrier, in the seas, or sparsely natural the form of high mountains, wide seas, inhabited advantage over those those st.;tr~ surinhabited territories, have a military advantage rounded by accessible state state borders on all sides. Over long timerounded periods, interior states block each other's cumulative cumulative expansion, tend to expand because they are more whereas marchland states tend likely to fight enemies enemies who are engaged in multifront conflicts. The expansion possibilities interior states randomized with with respect expansion possibilities of interior states are randomized to each other, whereas marchland states experience cumulative adcumuvantage. lt follows that inarchland marchland advantage sets in motion cumuadvantage. lative size and resource advantage. Fragmentation of interior states Fragmentation

Interior territories, facing enemies cm on several fronts, fronts, tend to fragment interior fragment number of smaller states over long periods of time into an increasing increasing number time.. This occurs because the combination of alliances experienced by interior states is largely random, random, especially if balance-of-power principles principles are followed,3 followed,°* and hence rather hence the power of such states fluctuates rather cumulates. Different overlapping territory are than cumulates. overlapping slices slices of territory are con~ queued by such interior states states at different times, leaving a residue of numerous administrative jurisdictions. Territories that have have been fought over a good deal thus develop increasingly localistic political infrastructure. The major powers on the periphery of such an interior order to keep them area often subsidize various factions within within it, in order out of alliance with their own major enemies. This increases facwithin interior states them more vulnerable tionalization within states and makes them to outside intervention. The positional advantage of marchland marchland states and disadvantage of interior in terror states is found found in much historical material. A high proportion of the empire-buildihg empirebuilding states of Chinese, Middle EuroMiddle Eastern, and Euro-

pean history have been marchland states (Collins, 1978). The fragmentation of interior states has been observed in numerous historical instances, including including medieval Germany, Kievan instances, Kgievan Russia, the Balkans after the decline of Ottoman Ottoman power, and China during during several of its warring Moscovite Russia Russia itself took advanwarring states periods. periods. The rise rise of Moscovite this process as it afflicted Mongol Empire in its successive tage of this afflicted the Mongol stage mid-12oos through the 15oos A.D. stagess of fragmentation from the mid-ieoos A.t:w. (McEvedy, 1961, 1971, Chew, Chew, 1967; Spooler, Spuler, 1972; Barraclough, Barraclough, 1979). whether positional advantages remain remain It can be questioned, however, whether 3

balance-of-power prominent in in earlier geopolitical geopolitical theory (Mor(MorThus the balance of-power doctrine pmrninent genthau, 1948) applies primarily primarily to the position of interior states.


of the Russian Empire Future decline of significant significant with the advent of modern sea and air power, which presumably states militarily contiguous. In the modem modern global sumably make all states militarily contiguous. world, world, have we now arrived at a balance in which all states are interior states? ' m scale has occurred, closer analysis (see But although some shift in Chapter Chapter 7) suggests that the change is only a matter of degree and that relative geographical contiguity contiguity of states to potential enemies continues continues to make a difference. Seaborne military power has been effective only to the extent that size and resource advantages advantages have favored the overseas power, together with the extent to which land bases have been available near near the point to be conquered. Air power, too, is affected by the closeness of bases to enemy territory; and air power sufficient for conquest conquest in the power alone is not sufficient the absence absence of the ability to move large land forces. There continues to be a gradient of difficulty of military access among culty among states, even in the industrial indnshial era. era. This is borne out by the continued evidence of positional patterns in World War It II (which resulted in the defeat defeat and fragmentation of Germany, an interior interior state). state). Some modern states thus continue to be favored by states thus greater inaccessibility relatively greater inaccessibility to enemies from one or more directions, due to strong natural barriers mountain ranges or barrie rs (such as large mountain wide seas), whereas other states whereas other states border on heavily inhabited tenitoterritories on several sides. Such advantages or disadvantages disadvantages of geographgeographexpansion and concontinue to show up in the expansion ical position should continue contraction modern states over long time-periods. traction of modern time-periods . Showdown wars wars and turning points

inarchland states cumulaA consequence of the preceding is that if marchland tively advance in size size and territorial resources, while while interior interior states fragment, then then eventually ei-'entually any interior territory territory will be totally absurrounding it. This implies there will sorbed by the marchland marchland states surrounding

be periodic confrontations among the large marchland-based conthat had quest states states that had previously been separated by an internal buffer zone. From the historical record, there there seems to be no way as yet of predicting whether whether a particular state will win this confrontation and establish a "world" empire. An alternative alternative possibility is that the macase, jor states will fight to a mutually mutually exhausting stalemate. In either case, certain empirical patterns do appear appear to be associated with such such 1978). "showdown wars" (Collins, 1978). One such pattern is that if a stalemate ensues from the confrontaOne confrontation of the giants, the long-term process process of geopolitical simplification goes into reverse. If It neither of the conquering inarchland marchland states is able to subjugate the the other and establish a "world" empire, their mutual


Politics exhaustion tends to weaken their hold hold over own client client states. exhaustion tends over their their own states. The geopolitical increasing geopolitical system begins to fragment again, again, with with increasing division of the interior interior territory territory and the long-term long-term growth of new new division marchland states periphery. marchland states on the periphery.

Overextension and disintegration There is an additional principles, There additional reason, reason, independent independent of the previous previous principles, why states may decline. Even "world" empires with no equivalent rivals have undergone weakening and long-term decay. A major reaundergone weakening beyond the resources of a territorial son is that military overextension beyond territorial heartland heartland results in disintegration of state power. This pattern pattern is found in the decline of seven seven of eight major Chinese dynasties, and in Western examples as recently as the decline numerous Western decline of the Napoleonic Napoleonic French French and the Nazi German empires after extension extension into Russia and North Africa (Collins, 1978). Such declines declines have begun begun quite success, as the requite abruptly, abruptly, following following long periods of military success, re~ sult distant battlefields. The results suit of military defeats on extremely distant results of such weaksuch overextension can include loss of territory, territory, chronic chronic fiscal weakness resulting internal dissension dissension and weakness resulting in internal weakness to outside attack, and susceptibility of the regime to internal internal revolution {5kocpol, (Skocpol, 1979; 1979; interpretations of this pattern: Collins, 1981b:63-9). 1981b~63-9). There are two interpretations 1. The gradient of overextension overextension is economic, economic, involving involving the trans-transportation costs of fighting portatiun fighting at too great a physical distance from rely reliable supply supply bases. bases. Economic Economic overextension overextension may be formally stated (Stinchcombe, 1968218-30).'4 geographical {Stinchcombc, 196812.18-30).*1 The vulnerability vulnerability of any geographical point point P0 Po to a particular particular state, state, A, is given by: by; V 0A VoA

Et (1 -- tdi) Cdr) kip, klpg = 2i I


(Eq- 1) (Et

where k is a constant, I is average per capita income, Pi Pt is the population of area area i, ddo is the distance in kilometers from area i to point Pa, and cC is the proportion proportion of military resources used up in transporting transporting it I kilometer. When expanding penetrate to a point Po expanding armies armies from state A penetrate PO that has a very very low or even even a negative negative value, total resources become become impossible for a state to muster muster rapidly depleted, and it becomes becomes impossible military power to maintain order even at closer distances. This is especially so when VOA VDA < dsted in in which lower classes, but out of economic necessity rather the middle and lower than preference. It became raised to an enforceable ideal first among the Hellenes 192;/19683.73-5) llellenes and especially the Romans (Weber, 1922/1968373-5). status system of the dowry, pointWeber sees it as evolving from the status ing out that the Egyptians distinguished legally behwreen between higher-status marriages, with dowry, and lower-staMs lower-status marriages, without (Weber, 1923!1961:53). r9zjlr'1963;53). Only the former had full legal protection of inheritance arrangements. Weber comments comments that Christianity Christianity later raised monogamy to a norm for ascetic ascetic reasons. 1I would suggest that that we cannot simply take take this for granted, granted, however, as none none of the other monomono~ 293

Sex theistic or ascetic religions did so. Instead, we seem seem to have Christianity adopting and extending most extending a Roman custom. It might might be most accurate to say that monogamy developed tendency to set developed out of the tendency classone wife above other sexual partners in the status system of dasshence class-endogamous class~endogamous societies, societies, the same societies stratified and hence the same that developed the dowry "potlatch."19 "potlatch."19 This status system gave rise to an elabora elaborated inheritance, which led law of inheritance, which brought marriages marriages within the provenance of the state state and its fiscal interests; thus political as well as status pressures pressures converged converged on enforcing monogamy." monogamy.20 Women's was thus sharply raised during the centuries of Wolnen's position was the agrarian agrarian state societies, societies, from being a form of chattel, a "work animal" or a kind of domestic prostitute, to an individual of high status (provided her class status status was high), even with certain independent rights. These These developments move in the pendent economic economic rights. developments did not all move same direction at the same time. In Ancient Rome, the woman woman arrived at the right right of divorce and hence the right to dispose of her own property, but at the same power over over her children, children, same time time she had had no power (Weber, 1922/1g68:373.). 1922/1968:373). In nor did she have protection as a widow (Weber, medieval England, England, the situation was almost the reverse; reverse, widows were maintained by a rent on family property property but had no economic and and legal independence of their husbands. husbands. Later, women's women's independent property property rights (and hence liabilities) liabilities) were were recognized because of the capitalist need Weber's somewhat cryptic cryptic recapitalist need to protect creditors. creditors. Weber's subject provide little more than a starting place for marks on the subject further investigation. Some efforts in this direction are the subject of the following chapter. Appendix: The question of Iroquois matriarchy Weber strongly strongly argued that tribal societies, including matrilineal/matrilocal forms, male-dominated and that the emancipation of alfmatrilocal forms, are male-dominated 19

this interpret interpretation that the emphasis emphasis on the the dowry was most ltIt is consonant consonant with with this don that extreme in classical India, where the caste system made the sharpest status distincdistincextreme tions. Even in in this situation, only only the higher higher castes can afford to give dowries dowries

Tobiah, 1973,69), (Goody and Tambiah, 1973.69), 11983) investigates the the question question of the rise of the Western Western European European family, (1983) investigates family, terms of prohibitions which he he sees primarily in terms prohibitions on marriage marriage with relatives relatives (both (both distant), on widow widow remarriage, close and distant), remarriage, and on concubinage and other multiple multiple

20 Goody zo

interpreted as prohibitions on classical strategies marriages. All All of these these can be interpreted as prohibitions strategies for ensuring heirs and continuity property, Goody argues that the Christian ensuring continuity of family family property. church changes- in church forced these these changes in order to receive receive inheritances for for itself. itself. He places the origins of the Western family in the goos although itit took took more more than than origins 3005 and 4oos 40os A.D., A.D., although millennium for the full rigor of church church policy policy to to take effect. This analysis analysis half a millennium toll rigor places what is implied Weber, places the emphasis emphasis on a different different time time period period than than what implied in in Weber, although itit is is stressing different multisided situation. situation. in general general,r although different aspects aspects of a multisided In . Goody's economic politics with Goody's emphasis emphasis on the economic politics of the Church seems in keeping keeping with Weber's theoretical themes. themes. Weber's



Weber's family Weber's theory of the family women begins patrimonial, agrarian agrarian sowomen begins only with the politics of the patrimo1:ulaL cieties. The Iroquois cited as a counterexample this type cieties. Iroquois are often cited counterexample to this type of generalization, instance known of female power in generalization, the strongest instance any tribal society. The Iroquois lived. lived in Ionghouses, longhouses, inhabited by a number of families families related related through the female line line,, and under a number ceremonial head. The Confederation Confederation of Iroquois Iroquois tribes female ceremonial tribes was headed by a council men, but its members were nominated council of men, nominated and replaceable by the.._§enior the senior woman of each longhouse. re_placea'ble_by longhouse. Tribal lands were regarded regarded as the property property of women. Brown (1970) (197U) and Blumberg (1984b) attribute Iroquois female dominance dominance to the female female basis attribute Iroquois of economic production (com (corn horticulture), horticulture), Sanday (1981) to religious exalting women's women's productive place in the cosmos. cosmos. myths exalting productive place The Iroquois ConfederaConfederaAn alternative explanation is geopolitical. 7'he tion came into existence existence in the years between A.D. 1475 and 1570, 1570, as a years between result diplomats to end the interinterresult of the efforts of two (male) tribal diplomats 1951; Ritchie, 1965; 1965, Gol Goldnecine wars among related tribes (Fenton, 1951; dbeen prior confederations confederations among the enweiser, 1967). There had been longhouse peoples, peoples, but these these had always been unstable. unstable. The innovalonghouse which which remained remained a major military military tion of the new Confederation force for more than two hundred years, even against against the colonial powers - was precisely its use of female nominators nominators of council mempowers position of women arose with the ConConbers. The elevated elevated political position tederacy, not before; previously federacy, previously women had no more influence influence than common in numerous numerous other tribes centered centered on .female female horhor~ was common ticultural production. production. ticultural The political genius of the iroquois Iroquois Confederation Confederation seems to have curbed the ambition ambition of individual requirebeen that it curbed individual war chiefs. The requirement of unanimous unanimous decision decision by a council council was one one method method of limiting ment individual nomination of leaders, and veto powers powers on individual power; the nomination them, by women political participation women was another. another. Female Female political participation - which was nevertheless kept to the background - was a mechanism chosen was by the males to prevent ambitious individuals individuals from destroying the Confederation as in the past. past. The vesting vesting of property property and lineage lineage Confederation membership membership in female lines was adopted adopted as a political extension extension of matri-centered local economy. economy. Contrary Contrary to Sanday's the malri-centered 5anday's (1981) claim that female fertility~nurturant mythologies produce female female power, fertility-nurturant mythologies power, Iroquois culture in many respects was extremely macho. The Iroquois (Otterbein, 1967). 1967), feared by their unusually disciplined fighters fighters (Otterbein, were unusually neighbors for their their cannibalism cannibalism and the practice practice of torture, which which neighbors regarded as an ordeal of honor. All these attributes are strongly they regarded these attributes strongly reminiscent of the all-male reminiscent all-male warrior warrior groups Weber Weber described described as typical typical tribal power centers. centers. If in the case of the Iroquois Iroquois Confederation. Confederation, the politics id raise to a degree degree the political tus of women, politics ddid political Sta status women, this should should


. -



. -


Sex be regarded as the result of two geopolitical processes: (1) the tendency to make women the "home base" in a highly militarized militarized situation make women situation away to distant distant wars (Ember and Ember, 1971) that often took men men away and (2) power struggle among males, resulting resulting in a stalemate, in which additional political which situation women could be introduced as additional actors. The latter process plays an important role in Chapter 12, 12, in explaining historical rises in the status status of women.


12. 12

Courtly politics and the status of women

study of the One of the most famous puzzles in the comparative study Nagar of south India. They practiced a form of family is the case of the feyer plural mating that that has led observers to question whether Nagar whether the feyer conventionally defined at all. The importance importance of the had the family as conventionally feyer Nagar case is not confined to questions of the universality or fundamental characteristics characteristics of the family. The feyer Nagar family is one of a set of similar structures, and its analysis analysis illuminates illuminates an important theme in family structure generally: its connection with attempt with politics. I shall attempt comparatively that the peculiarities to show comparatively peculiarities of the feyer Nagar family were were circumstances. Moreover, a number number of key develdue to its political circumstances. developments in the history of the family have been brought about by political processes processes in the surrounding surrounding society. Such processes may even even shed some some light light on the origins origins of the family structure structure that that we associate with modern Western society, and of the position of women assodale with modern


within it. Comparative research on the the family Comparative famijy has relied heavily son on anthropological The Nagar are an anomthropological materials about tribal societies. The aly in this context because they were not a tribe were part tribe at all. They were of an agrarian agrarian state society, literate and hence hence "historical/" "historical," rather than one of the so-called historyless peoples. The feyer were the

warrior caste in the small Hindu kingdoms of the Malabar coast (Kerala). Marriages with with the higher Brahman caste caste were were crucial in estabestabhigher Brahman lishing the feyer Nagar family system; the feyer Nagar life-style life style was supported by castes of peasant serfs and untouchable laborers below them. The feyer Nagar family family system has largely died out out in modern times, surviving surviving

most recently in rural villages, where it has been fair game for anthropological fieldwork. fieldwork. But it originally capthropological originally had its heart in political cappopulations of itals, the cities of Cochin and Calicut, which had populations 25,000-60,000 as z5,ooo-6o,ooo during the the medieval medieval period (Chandler and Fox, 1974:

246). glance, the the feyer look even more out of place among At first glance, among agrarstale societies; most of these (India, ancient Greece ian state (India, China, Islam, Islam, ancient rigidly patrilineaUpatrilocal. patrilineal/patrilocal. Nevertheless Nevertheless there there is at and Rome) were were rigidly 243, 243,


Sex least one similar case. In Heian ]apart Japan (ca.A.D. 800~1zoo), 800-1200), residence residence

was often inatrilocal, matrilocal, descent was counted in both paternal and maternal lines, and possession of daughters was more important to a family's fortune than possession possession of sons; court court men and women women both had multiple sexual partners, and jealousy was disparaged. Heian Heian structure found among society is a less extreme version of the family structure found among Nagar but is similar enough to give us comparative leverage to the feyer find what features seem to be causally important and _potentially potentially generalizable. generalizable. This type of comparison has perhaps perhaps been been overlooked because the feyer have been treated anthropological literature treated as part of of the anthropological along with other nonliterate and stateless societies. Despite their historical background, background, the feyer Nagar resemble a tribal society because mamatrilocality, and corporate corporate kin groups characteristics trilineality, matrilocality, groups are characteristics usually usually found only in such societies. Many comparativists coniparativists deliberately exclude agrarian state societies from their analyses, precisely because these "complex" societies are believed to introduce spurious spurious relationships because of diffusion, outside influences, influences, or imposed imposed dominance structures. In my opinion, this is a false dichotomy. Tribal societies are not immune to external influences, and may even be constituted constituted by them {5trathern, (Strathern, 1973). In actuality the anthropological anthropological separate "society," Nor literature is rarely rarely consistent on what it calls a separate is "diffusion" a purely purely accidental accidental contaminating contaminating agent that requires requires us to throw history throw out certain data as tainted; tainted; it is the very nature of history itself. To exclude such such cases cases is to base comparative comparative family theory theory made up a tiny proalmost entirely on the small tribal societies that made portion of the total historical historical population population of the world, portion world, and to ignore 80 percent of the people who have ever the family experience of 8o [email protected] ]j.Ved_1

The result of excluding the historical agrarian family is that when sociologists look look comparatively at their own own society's family family strucsociologists

ture, their eye leaps directly from hom the complex "extended" family structure of tribal tribal societies to the nuclear family of industrial industrial society. stntcture society. It was this contrast that that motivated Linton's (1936) classic distinction distinction was this between "ascription" and "achievement," which most observers take as the main difference between between industrial and preindustrial preindustrial societies. blank space between illiterate tribes tribes and In recent years, however, the blank the twentieth-century twentieth-century West has begun to be filled in by the emeremergence of a historical (e. g., Aries, 1962; Ladurie, historical sociology of the family (e.g., 1 Members of tribal societies 1 societiesmake make up up

4 approximately 43 less than 2 percent of the approximately billion persons persons who have lived lived in the last 10,ooo years. Calculated from McEvedy McEvedy and billion 10,000 years. 19/8:15, 342. 3.2. ones, 197815, Jones,


Courtly politics and the status of of women 1976; Laslett, 1980). What it finds contradicts contradicts the view that industrialism is responsible for the rise of the nuclear family with all its traits. Historical research finds the modern family almost "modern" traits. as far back as it has looked. Romantic love, emphasis on personal mates, economic power of women, and relahappiness in choice of mates, tive freedom freedom of divorce have been found in the early 18oos even 18005 and even United States the 17oos in the North American colonies and early United (Lantz (Lentz et al. 1968; Lantz, 1976). The nuclear nuclear family household, household, late marriage for women, small age gap between the spouses and comnorthpanionate form of marriage were characteristic characteristic of England and northwestern Europe as far back as the 16oos 16005 and 15oos (Laslett, 1977). then, does the modern family begin? And if not because of Where, then, industrialism, why? contribute to I submit submit that the feyer-Heian Nagar-Heian comparison can contribute lo anansevering this question. question. in In brief, the feyer swering Nagar represent represent a type of "court "court nobility situation of marriage nobility" marriage politics, as does more obviously the Heian aristocracy. Agrarian state societies practice such politics politics beHeian cause major political positions are hereditary. But such societies regarded as instances should not be regarded instances of "ascription" "ascription" in the sense of consciously being static. In fact, people in such societies actively and consciously schemed to get ahead. This could be done done by advancing one's family connections; the family patriarch, if successful, could reap reap the benefits of this in his own lifetime. lrfefirrze. The feyer and Heian marriage politics differ from those found in most most agrarian agrarian states, but they they reveal a crucial mechanism affecting similar affecting the sexual status of women. A similar mechanism, responsible for the beginning of mechanism, I will conclude, may be responsible the modern medimodern Western family structure in the courtly society of medieval Europe. Europe. The feyer Nagar puzzle puzzle

The feyer were organized organized in exogamous (Gough, 1959; The Nagar were exogamous matrilineages may-ilineages (Cough, Mencher, 1965; Fuller, Fuller, 1976). Each of these trencher, these consisted consisted of a number of matrilocal matriloeal households households call taravads. teravads. The women lived together with

their children and brothers. Property was held in common under the authority of the eldest male, the Fceranavan, authority karanavan, and could not be divided . The teravad large fortified household surrounded by walls or faratzad was a large moat, moat, and usually containing twenty or more adults. Nagar combined two different kinds of marriages. marriages. The first, The feyer different kinds first, was tali-tying tale'-tying ceremony, was held before a girl reached puberty, puberty, and consisted of a ritual ritual in which married and then then in effect consisted which she was married divorced four days later. later. The always from a divorced The Salz' tnlf marriage marriage partner partner was always particular hangar. 'thus Thus lineages were were perperparticular other matrilineage, matrilineage, called called enangzzr. 299

Sex petually giving taiipart~ petually linked through the hereditary hereditary relationship relationship of giving full parthers to another, representatives lineage were always ners representatives of the the hangar ammgar lineage invited to the feyer invited Nagar household for important important family ceremonies ceremonies such such births and deaths. as births the feyer After this childhood marriage-and-divorce, marriage-and-divorce, the Nagar woman woman was free number of visiting husbands, sambandham. The free to take a number husbands, called sambandlinm. number more number of such such husbands husbands could could. be as many as a dozen, but more sarnllatndffuun husbands, husbands, plus usually there there were three or four regular sambandharrt temporary liaisons with feyer soldiers passing through area. through the area. among the visiting husbands, who could have There was no jealousy among a number of srzrntznndhzzrn sambandham wives in different different lineages. There was a type of incest prohibition, in that sexual intercourse was not allowed same lineage, nor could two members of the among members of the same same household household share share the same woman or man. Husbands visited their arranging schedules to avoid overlaps. overlaps. The their wives at night, often arranging visiting husband placed his weapons outside outside the wife's wife's bedroom bedroom door; another husband husband who saw them them there might might sleep outside on When a woman became pregnant, pregnant, one of her husbands the veranda, veranda. When husbands usually acknowledged the child. This involved very little besides besides some small gifts; it had no effect on inheritance inheritance or lineage membership, since these remained strictly in the female line. line. members of Malabar The feyer caste did not comprise comprise the only members society, society. The foregoing description description applies applies especially to the commoners, Nagar. These rural lineages moners, ennoble subcaste subcastes of the feyer. lineages held land on feudal tenure from the headman's headman's lineage, who in Ln turn had received it from district chiefs, chiefs, and they they in turn from a royal royal lineage. received lineage. The feyer Nagar were professional professional soldiers and owed military service to their feudal superiors. They were frequently away from home, at least during during the nonmonsoon season, training in the local gymnonrnonsoon season, nasium, fighting fighting in incessant wars, or taking taldng part in military ceremonies at the capitals. capitals. Below Below the the feyer Nagar were the the castes castes of serfs and

artisans who worked their property for them; above them were some small military castes of nobles, chiefs, and kings, and and the wealthy

landowning priestly caste of Namboodiri Brahmans. The feyer themselves made up approximately 15 percent of the population. The feyer Nagar nobles and the higher non~Nayar non-Nayar castes also practiced feyer-style Nagar-style marriage, with a particular emphasis upon upon hypergamy hypergamy hypergamy (female (female up-marriage) and a strict prohibition of hypergamy down-marriage). This was particularly strong among the Namboodiri Namboodiri Brahmans, into ten subcaste Brahrnans, who were divided into subcastes ranked ranked by prestige. Unlike Brahmans elsewhere in India, the Namboodiri practiced practiced strict (Menchcr, 1965:175). Only the eldest son was allowed primogeniture (trencher, marry a Brahman woman and produce an heir to the family properto marry


Courtly politics and the status of zuonzerz worrier ty. to.

sambandham relay relaThe younger sons SOIIS visited feyer women in sambandlzam tionships; elder sons might might also have such such relationships in addition to their Brahman wives. From the Brahman viewpoint, view-point, these were were conCDH'sidered concubinage, sidered concubinage, although the feyer Nagar considered them them to be legitlegitimate marriages. marriages, Because lineage passed in a strictly paternal paternal line for the maternal line for the feyer, Nagar, there there was no the Brahmans, and and in the maternal fathering feyer loss of status for Brahmans in fathering Nagar children, children, whom they willingly acknowledged with the traditional gifts. But since the traditional birth gifts. .Brahman man was illplr sambandham wife, of a higher ritual rank than his sambanrlham he could not eat in her house, nor could he touch her or his children during the daytime while he was in a state during state of ritual purity. The higher feyer Nata: subcaste, subcastes, when married to lower-ranking feyer Nagar women, imitated the Brahmans pollution avoidance, confining their visits tated Brahmans in this pollution avoidance, confining visits strictly strictly to nighttime nighttime hours. hours. The entire Malabar permeated by rigid pollution rules Malabar society was permeated that were considered by observers to be the most extreme in all of food, dress, style of houses, and all other India. Caste rules regulated food, aspects of life. Low-caste persons could use only certain paths, and aspects out-of-the-way places where they could not be their huts were in out-of-the~way seen, seen. Only in Kerala did lower castes pollute pollute not merely by touch but but by approaching within a certain approaching within certain number number of feet of a Brahman Brahman or a feyer. Nagar. feyer Nagar warriors could kill a Pulaya Fulaya on sight sight if they met a member of this low caste caste on the highway: an example example that reminds reminds us that the caste system was not merely upheld by beliefs. Because of this extreme caste-consciousness, feyer Naval women's sexual activities had to be strictly confined to identifiable caste members of equal or higher rank. Hence a woman who did not have the fall tali ceremony performed by puberty, linking linking her to an appropriate enangnr hangar lineage, lost caste. A feyer Nagar woman woman who had a child that was not acknowledged was assumed to have had intercourse edged by an appropriate appropriate man was with someone of lower caste (who (who might even be someone of a lower

Nagar subcaste); the woman was punished by the entire etzangar feyer enarzgar in a neighborhood assembly, assembly, was dismissed from caste and household,

and could be sold as a slave. Historical background background

The feyer Nagar family system has been described by anthropologists relying on informants in remote rural villages in the twentieth century, and and appears to have been intact intact there until the late late 18005. century, 1800s.

According to European European and Arab travelers, Uavelers, it appears to have have flourHourAccording ished from the 13oos to the 170os. 17005. It began to decline after a f t e r Kerala Kerala passed into control during 1792-18508 into British British control 1792-1850.2 Under pressure from from 2 Sir Richard Richard Burton visited Zumorirfs Zamorin's palace palace at Calicut in in 1850 1850 and and reported: "We


Sex the British (and also Moslem Moslem rulers on the northern edges of Kerala), who considered considered the feyer marriage system system decidely immoral, the Nagar marriage sarnbandham marriage began to decline. Along with it, feyer sambamihatn Nagar women lost many of their privileges and shifted toward the patriarchal domination characteristic of the rest of India. nation characteristic observers, including including the feyer themselves, Many observers, themselves, have noted noted the connection system and the military situation of connection between between the marriage military u J (Mencher, 1965:176). Before the advent of British-imposed British-imposed Kerala {trencher, peace, the Malabar Malabar coast was ma de up of many states, in incespeace, made many small states, incesthemselves. Hence the men spent much of their sant warfare among themselves. traveling to war while the women women remained remained at home. This of time traveling course cannot be the whole explanation, since other parts of India incessant warfare without without the type of family family system. also had incessant the feyer Nata: type system. nevertheless are an important important background. background. KerGeopolitical factors factors nevertheless ala, the western coast of south India, is a narrow strip of very fertile land cut off from the rest of the continent by the Ghats, Ghats, a rugged mountain mountain range 8,ooo 8,000 feet high. Kerala is almost on the equator, equator, an andd the climate wheeled climate is tropical tropical with with heavy rainfall. Lacking Lacking roads, wheeled vehicles, or pack animals, transportation through through the jungle was ex~ exvehicles, trernely rulers, no tremely difficult. Although Although warfare was rife among among local rulers, extended kingdoms kingdoms were ever created, no doubt due to the difficultie tiess of logistics logistics and communications. communications. Compared Compared to the rest India, rest of India, south degree of autonomy autonomy at the district and south India had an unusual unusual degree village level (Thapar, 1966:173). The Kerala kingdoms kingdoms never expanded. panded to conquer outside territories; alone in all of India, they were incorporated into any northern or Deccan (central) conquest never incorporated state (Davies, 1949).3 state Kerala, then, then, was a situation of unusual political decentralization. decentralization. the same thinly populated tribal area, At the same time, it was by no means a thinly civilization. Cultivation Cultivation of rice, coconuts, coconuts, mangoes, mangoes, but an agrarian civilization. and cotton supported the highest-density population in plantains, and

India. Moreover, Kerala's favorable location in relation to the trade winds winds of the Indian Ocean made its ports the principal principal entrepOts of

Western trade, which was largely in the hands of Arabs. Medieval gratified to catch a sight of Nair female beauty. The ladies are very young were gratified young and


3 3

pretty their long features, clear dark long jetty tresses, tresses, small soft features, dark olive-colored olive-colored skin, and delicate their toilette, in all save save the ornamental part part of rings rings and necklaces, necklaces, delicate limbs limbs - their tniielte, in was Fuller, 197615. was decidedly scanty." Quoted in Fuller, 1986;15. Although history is obscure, obscure, itit is possible that Kerala was nominally nominally part of a Although the history south Indian empire based based on Madras (the (the opposite., opposite, eastern during A.D. south Indian eastern coast) coast) during A.D. 1000woo-


1200 in in the period period immediately immediately preceding preceding the rise rise of the system under consideration consideration system under

here (Davies, Further evidence of its medieval medieval isolaisolahare (Davies, 1949; Thapar, Thapar, 1966:195-6, 1966:195-6, 334). Further tion is the the fact developed its own language, Malayalam, from A . o . 1200 zoo to tion fart that Kerala developed language, Malayalam, AND. D . 15oo. about A A.D. 1500.


Courtly Courtly politics politics and the status of of women urban development Kerala had a higher higher volume of trade trade and more urban than northern India (Thapar, 1966323). 1966:328). Arabs, Jews, Christians, and others created a multi-ethnic others multiethnic environment. Kerala had an unusually unusually high degree of literacy for a tradi tonal society. Apparently Apparently virtually virtually traditional Nagar men and most of the women could read and write Malayaall feyer Iam (Gough, lam Gough, 1968:146). Every feyer Nagar child went through a ceremony ceremony of "first writing" at about age five (trencher, 1965:186), indicating that writing writing had become a ritualized emblem of cultural status. status. This situation, l would suggest, produced an interrelated complex elements: chivalrous practice of warfare, warfare, extreme rank conof elements: sciousness, and status competitiveness competitiveness expressed in marriage marriage pol-

itics. Foreign observers of medieval Kerala noted all three of these elements (Fuller, 1976:8-10). 1976:8-10}. The feyer Nagar were elements were described as extremely

courteous, warlike, and courtly. They proud and arrogant but also as courteous, involved in frequent altercations. Waralways .went armed my and were involved altercations. W'arfare was incessant, but because it never resulted in annexation of territory, it was carried out with elaborate rules of honor that made made it gentlemanly game. a gentlemanly game .



Fighting took place only in daylight; in the morning, the opposed opposed forces bathed together joked, exchanging exchanging betel, bathed together and chatted and joked, betel, until the battle battle was was heralded by drums. The armies then formed up: a vanguard of swordsmen, a middle rank of archers and men armed with clubs, with with lancers bringing bringing up armies advanced advanced slowly, intermittently intermittently the rear. There was no cavalry. cavalqv. The armies

retreating. retreating. When ranks finally broke, a general bloody melee developed, deaths and wordings. wounding. When inevitably resulting in many deaths When sunset sunset as appreached, the drums sounded the battle's end, it ceased at once. The antae proached, battles end; antagonists onists again mingled mingled together together as they had done done in the morning. [Fuller, 1976:8] ""


chivalrous style of fighting is characteristic This chivalrous characteristic of geopolitical situations in which power power is fragmented and large~scale large-scale conquests are not not

possible (Collins, 1981c:94-5). i98ic:94-5). elaborateness of the caste system, Moreover, the extreme elaborateness system, with its many subcastes, sumptuary regulations, regulations, and minute gradations of subcastes, sumptuary minute gradations prestige, also fits this situation. High degrees of status competition characteristic of societies with decentralized decentralized power and a wealthy are characteristic leisure class, and especially in multi-ethnit* multi-ethnic situations (Collins, 1977). Thus the very wide penetration of literacy among among the feyer Thus Nagar fits the cultural status, status. more general atmosphere of competition over cultural but deThe feyer, Nagar, then, were a courtly aristocracy in a wealthy wealthy but de~ centralized situation. Status competition took place place primarily through politics. But this competition was not a matter of prestige marriage politics. alone; it also provided the basis for alliances among families, which


Sex were crucial crucial to the political political fortunes fortunes of families families in this situation situation of were constant warfare among among shifting shifting coalitions. coalitions. constant higher feyer, there was much rivalry among lineages Among the higher falnily's (Gough, 1959:84). Political fortunes could rise and fall with a family's i eir prestige. Important families placed great stress on marrying ma.1§{m§ their daughters never to daughters and sisters sisters to men men of higher higher subcastes, virtually virtually never equals. The royal lineages staked their prestige on having Namboodiri Brahmans (and especially their boodiri Brahmans especially high-ranking high-ranking ones) ones) father father their sarnbandham marriages and the tali-tying rites rites among enamerrankings. Both sambanrlharn gar lineages were hypergamous, if a family could accomplish accomplish it. To tail to do so was to lose status, status, and hence hence political political allies. LowerLowerfail ranking feyer Nagar families, to be sure, were unable to keep up, and were forced saazbandham and hangar enangair relationships relationships with equals. equals. forced to accept accept so:-nbandham The tefi-tying talk-tying ceremony was expensive, involving a four-day feast entertainment for many many guests guests and distribution distribution of food to lowlow~ with entertainment caste agricultural workers outside 1965:171). outside the gate (trencher, (Mencher, 1965;171). Hence it constituted constituted a potlatch-like potlatch-like display display of wealth that only the Hence wealth that the higher ranking could could easily easily afford. Wealthy Wealthy feyer might allow allow higher poorer families families to present present their daughters collectively at their poorer daughters collectively their own ceremony; this of course created both enhanced honor honor for the higher family, and obligations obligations of loyalty loyalty on the lower that could be called on family, in military feuds. together by marriage The entire entire feyer feudal system was thus tied together marriage politics. Hypergamous Hypergamous unions unions and the hangar relationships relationships "linked politics. "linked office-bearing office-bearing lineages to each other and to their retainers in a complicated manner. manner. And feyer men phrased phrased their loyalty to higher higherplicated ranking leaders, leaders, rulers rulers and Brahmins Brahmins in terms of a debt owed to ranking benevolent paternal figures collectively fathered benevolent paternal figures whose whose forebears had collectively them and whose blood they were proud to share" (Gough, 1959:88}, 1959:88). system was highly highly dynamic, dynamic, and and an an ambitious ambitious family could could raise The system cutting off prior equal-status sambandham sairntrandham marriages and and its status by cutting

hypergamous ones. ones. permitting only hypergamous had an unusual degree of For this reason, although feyer Nagar women had

sexual sexual freedom freedom as conventionally conventionally defined, they were nevertheless nevertheless control. Sambandliarn Sarrzbartdham relationships relationships were usually arranged under strict control. woman's by the woman's wotan's uncle; if the kafranavcm karanavan did not approve of a woman's could require her to dismiss him (trencher, 1965:183-4). 1965:183-4). husband, he could Women after puberty were Women were restricted, restricted, rarely rarely leaving leaving the the women's section of the house. Because fortified households, hussection Because these were were fortified could not reach wives without the consent of her armed armed bands could reach their wives relatives. Women Women in feyer society were were a crucial crucial possession possession in male relatives. Nagar society marriage politics, upon which the family's family's entire status status the game of marriage (and rested. It was more important (and its military military connections) connections) rested. important for a man 304

politzbs and the status of women Courtly politics to have sisters, and have daughters, than it was for he and for them them to have himself to have sons sons (trencher, 1965:183). originate? Some Some observers observers have How did the feyer Nagar family system system originate? connected it with the survival of ancient matrilineal rnatnllineal systems in south India, India, evidenced evidenced by the queens who ruled the Pandya Pandya states in the southeast ~-5, 202). On the other hand, southeast (Thapar. (Thapar, 1966:1o3 1966:103-5, hand, it has also been been claimed that indigenous castes of Kerala had a patrilineal matrilineal polyandry was forced upon them by kinship system until inatrilineal the Namboodiri Brahmans from the 11oos 11OOS onward (E. K. Pillar, Pillai, cited died in Fuller, 1976:121). It is not likely, however, that a family system was imposed by force. More More probably it was the result of a process of marriage politics spread by emulation in the decentralized situation of status competition. kings and chiefs of Kerala encouraged competition. The early kings encouraged Brahmans by giving them tax-exempt land, while the immigration of Brahmans employing supporting the kings' employing Brahmans Brahmans to perform Vedic rituals rituals supporting claims for status status (Thapar, 1966:184). The Brahmans Brahmans thus thus played a part in the initial phase phase of consolidation of small states of Kerala, under the stimulus of the new wealth; economic prosperity of the new trading wealth; Malabar trading trading coast began at this time. organized into The existing tribal society was already organized into intermarrying lineages, the later enangars. As Dumont (1961) has pointed out, the tali ceremonies tie together lineages in much the same manner manner as cross-cousin marriage marriage rules elsewhere in south India. And in fact the fall (a leaf-shaped leaf-shaped emblem tied around tali around the woman's neck) is the common symbol for marriage south India. The feyer marmarmarriage throughout south systems superimposed superimposed one riage system seems to show two marriage marriage systems upon the hangar tribal alliance system, the other. The original erzangar system, with its egalitarian tendencies, was relegated to the background once tribal stratified feudal society gave way to the highly stratified feudal society of the Middle Ages. It was reduced to a pro forma marking of the vestigial enarrgar hangar alliance, with a quick quick divorce, which which allowed the woman alliance, together with freedom to contract contract further further marriages (Unni, 195872) 1958:72).. sambandham The way in which which the later samba ndham came about, about, I would would sugsugshall see in Heian Iapan. gest, is by a process process similar to that which which we shall Iapan . akinFJ The indigenous kings found found it possible possible to raise their The indigenous kings their status by making Namboodiri Brahmans. their daughters daughters concubines of the Namboodiri Brahmans. By stressing Ina trilocality and matrilineality, the feyer retained matrilocality retained control control of the women and their their children. This strategy fitted well fitted w e ] enough with the refused regular patristatus claims of the Brahmans, who who would have refused Nayar women could not have lineal marriages with lower castescastes. A feyer Brahman'-s house. The system spread from the courts to the the entered a Brahman's rest lower ennoble nonnoble subcastes rest of the feyer Nagar nobility and then into the lower subeastes of feyer. The process process was was not simply a trickle~down trickle~down of cultural cultural diffu305

Sex sign: It

hypergamous system that emphasized verwas an explicitly hypergamous tical exchanges. As Tambiah Tobiah (1973) has shown for the the caste system generally, under a system of hypergamy hypergamy status is not lost by men marrying down, down, whereas it can be gained by a woman's woman's family as long as she m marries generally, a l e s up. The hypergamy hypergamy of Indian kinship generally, introduced into Kerala by the Brahmans, Brahmans, combined with the extreme status status competition of decentralized deceit tralized feudalism feudalism to favor the spread of Nagar system of courtly marriage politics. the feyer Japan Marriage politics politics in Heian ]apart

Heian Japan shows us in historical detail how a female-centered family system can develop strategy, develop as the result of deliberate political political strategy, spreading downward. downward. From the beginning at the top of society and spreading late Emperors came under control late 7oos ;A.D. . D . onward, the japanese japanese Emperors under the control of a series of regents regents of the Fujiwara Fujiwara clan (Sansom, 1958139-42, $958x139-42, 1557, Morris, Morris, 1964163-6). prevailing practice was was for adult emperors emperors 1964:63-6). The prevailing to abdicate in favor of a child, who was duly married married to a daughter of the Fujiwara family. When he was old enough to have a son, he turn. The head Fujiwara family thus thus usually had abdicated in turn. head of the Fujiwara during the emperors his own grandson on the throne, and during elnperor's minority exercised exercised power as regent or sometimes sometimes in an even more behind-thebehind-the scenes capacity through the agency agency of figureheads holding official capacity through figureheads holding titles. h`tles. Even adult emperors could be controlled by family influences through politics . through marriage marriage politics. attractive and intelligent The key to this system was the presence of attractive daughters who could daughters could be married to the emperor, emperor, if not as official wife, then favorite concubine. then as favorite concubine. Although Although the official family structure was patrilineal and patrilocal, matrilineal and rnatrilocal elements were and matrilocal 1964259-60, 218-19; introduced into it as much as possible (Morris, 1964:59-60, 216-19, Frédéric, 197227, 46). Matrilocal residence was emphasized emphasized by the Frédéric, during his practice of having the Emperor live with with his wife's family during minority, and also during the frequent frequent periods periods when the Imperial minority, palace was destroyed by fire. (Such fires were often likely deliberate, deliberate, as they were a common tactic in political infighting [E3ansom, [Sansom, 1958: Furthermore, the woman woman returned to her parental 169].) Furthermore, parental home during during menstruation and while giving birth, and usually usually stayed there while while menstruation her child grew bolstered the power patriarch over his grew up. Lip. This bolstered power of the patriarch Imperial relatives, by having having them live in his own own home. Imperial relatives, This structure also emphasized emphasized the maternal line. Despite Despite an apparmatrilineality, Iapan ent ancient period of matrilineality, Japan in historical historical times had a patrilineal family system, and male male primogeniture primogeniture was the inheriinheri1972:34). In these respects, medieval Japan was tance rule (Frédéric, 1972;34). 306

Courtly politics and the status of women Car-frtly similar to virtually all agrarian state state societies. Nevertheless, the female line was stressed precisely because it was by this means that the Fujiwara regency was able to take effect. As a result, result, women women acquired the rights to hold hold and acquired and inherit inherit property in their their own own names (Morris, 1964:92, 1964:92_, 217). This in turn more valuable tum made women even more in marriage, matri-centered marriage politics spread from marriage, and rnatri-centered from the surrounding aristocracy, and even into Imperial family itself to the surrounding the provincial clans (Frédéric, 1972:47). In in emulation emulation of the Fujiwaras, matri-residences high-status form, and matrilineal matrilineal dematri-residences became the high-status scent was given a prominent place in the political connections of the scent was given aristocracy. aristocracy. We see, then, a way in which which royal marriage politics royal marriage politics introduces introduces matrilocality and matrilineality matrilineality into a patrilocal matrilocality and patrilocal and patrilineal matrilineal family two other features similar to the system. Heian Heian Japan Japan also developed Mo Nagar situation: elaborate status~ranking, stat Lts~ranl