Pub. Date:
Cambridge University Press
War and State Formation in Ancient China and Early Modern Europe

War and State Formation in Ancient China and Early Modern Europe

by Victoria Tin-bor Hui


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Hui (political science, U. of Notre Dame) challenges the notion that Europe was destined for a liberal political system of checks and balances while China was naturally inclined towards a coercive universal empire, by comparing the histories of each during periods in which they resembled each other in both international and domestic politics. In the Spring and Autumn (770-453 BC) and Warring States (453-221 BC) periods, Chinese guo or states resulting from the disintegration of feudal hierarchy developed systems of war, diplomacy, and territorial sovereignty that resembled the systems developed centuries later in early modern Europe. Furthermore, China of this era mirrored early modern Europe in state-society relations (e.g., the distinction of the state from the reigning ruler, the selection and promotion of officials on the basis of meritocratic criteria, and the universality and impartiality of publicly promulgated laws). Applying methods from historical-institutional and structural approaches to history, Hui uses the comparative cases of China and Europe to develop a dynamic theory of world politics that seeks to explicate the simultaneous interplay of domination and power balancing in inter-state and intra-state relations. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521819725
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 06/30/2005
Pages: 308
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.83(d)

About the Author

Victoria Hui is a visiting Assistant Professor in Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. She holds an Assistant Professor in Political Science position at the University of Illinois. She received a PhD from Columbia University and has received fellowships from the Olin Institute at Harvard University, the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, and the Institute for the Study of World Politics.

Table of Contents

1. A dynamic theory of world politics; 2. The dynamics of international politics in Ancient China; 3. Rethinking the dynamics of international politics in early modern Europe; 4. The dynamics of state formation and transformation; 5. Conclusion and implications.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Victoria Hui is perhaps the only person in the international relations field capable of writing such a sophisticated comparative history of the Chinese and European state systems. This book is pioneering in its efforts to bring Asia ina to the study of macro-historical change in world politics. She demonstrates expert command of Chinese and European sources, international relations theory, and social science research design. The result is a provocative argument about the importance of strategic amorality, ruthlessness, and resource mobilization in state building, and about why ancient Chinese states outperformed European states in these areas." Alastair Iain Johnston, Harvard University

"Victoria Hui has successfully executed a stunningly bold macro-historical comparison, while bringing to light the workings of a fascinating international system. Scholarship on state making and system transformation in ancient China and modern Europe and, indeed, in other international systems, past, present, and future must contend with her arguments and evidence."
William Wohlforth, Dartmouth College

"Dr. Hui offers us a challenging reinterpretation of modern European history by a bold and original comparison with the period of state formation in China. In doing so, she challenges some dominant theories both in the theory of state formation and in international relations theory. The boldness of the method will provoke controversy, but nothing could be more valuable, for both historians and political scientists, than to understand European history in comparative perspective. This unusual work will be of great interest, not only to students and scholars of European and Chinese history, but also to those concerned with understanding contemporary global politics."
Michael Freeman, University of Essex

"It is rare to encounter an analysis as attentive to detail and method, yet broad in the scope of its implications as that by Victoria Tin-Bor Hui. Her book embarks on a macro-historical study of world politics and provides a sophisticated comparative history of the Chinese and European state systems... It is the kind of book that is bound to trigger debate and it invites (if not beckons) its readers to pursue further the ideas discussed on its pages."
Emilian Kavalski, University of Alberta, Political Studies Review

"Victoria Hui's stimulating book represents an important contribution to the fields of political science, sociology and history that can be read with profit by Europeanists and Sinologists alike." - Thomas Ertman

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