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Family Power
Kinship, War and Political Orders in Eurasia, 500–2018

$41.99 (P)

Peter Haldén,
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  • Date Published: April 2020
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108495929

$ 41.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Since the seventeenth century, scholars have argued that kinship as an organizing principle and political order are antithetical. This book shows that this was simply not the case. Kinship, as a principle of legitimacy and in the shape of dynasties, was fundamental to political order. Throughout the last one and a half millennia of European and Middle Eastern history, elite families and polities evolved in symbiosis. By demonstrating this symbiosis as a basis for successful polities, Peter Haldén unravels long-standing theories of the state and of modernity. Most social scientists focus on coercion as a central facet of the state and indeed of power. Instead, Halden argues that much more attention must be given to collaboration, consent and common identity and institutions as elements of political order. He also demonstrates that democracy and individualism are not necessary features of modernity.

    • This book uncovers longer historical trends than most comparative works in the state-formation genre
    • By comparing Europe with Central Asia and the Middle East the book draws new conclusions from each case as well as from a general phenomenon in human history
    • Makes us understand how political orders are shaped, what makes them last and draws political focus away from a focus on military force as a means of state-building
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    Reviews & endorsements

    In a time where Charles Tilly's bellicist explanation of state formation processes seems to dominate, Peter Haldén has made an important and outstanding contribution to the literature which partly argues that kinship was of major importance to the political order emerging in Europe and the Middle East and partly proves that not only coercion but also collaboration, negotiations and consent were essential aspects of the political orders. There is no doubt that this will become a seminal text in reintroducing the kinship as a key concept to understand the development of political orders and political institutions. It is really a work of clarity and depth which ought to set the agenda for the debates about European state formation processes. Lars Bo Kaspersen, Copenhagen Business School

    In a pathbreaking study of extraordinary historical and comparative scope, Halden brings the family back into politics from the shadow world to which it has been relegated by modern social science. He shows just how central kinship groups are to the creation and success of political orders and develops a richer understanding of the state that decenter's Weber's emphasis on violence and bureaucracy. Richard Ned Lebow, King's College London

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108495929
    • length: 386 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 159 x 26 mm
    • weight: 0.68kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    2.How Social Science Separated Families from Political Order
    3.Formless Kinship in Formless Kingdoms. Europe c.500-c.1000
    4.Consolidating Dynasties and Realms. Europe c.1000-c.1500
    5.Strong Aristocracies in Strong States. Europe c.1500-c.1800
    6.The Revival and Sudden Death of Political Kinship. Europe c.1800-1918
    7.The Arab Empires 632-c.900
    8.Sacred Yet Supple. Kinship and Politics in Turkic-Mongol Empires c.900-c.1300
    9.The Ubiquitous and Opaque Elites of the Ottoman Empire c.1300-c.1830
    10.Clans and Dynasties in the Modern Middle East: Somalia and Saudi Arabia
    11.Conclusions: Implications For State Theory, Power and Modernity

  • Author

    Peter Haldén, Swedish Defence University
    Peter Haldén is Associate Professor in the Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership at the Swedish Defence University, Stockholm


    Peter Haldén,

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