University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Department of Sociology Seminar Series > A Postcolonial Rethinking of the State and Nation: From Comparative to Connected Sociologies

A Postcolonial Rethinking of the State and Nation: From Comparative to Connected Sociologies

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Discussions of the nation-state are generally based on the presumption of its emergence as a ‘pure-type’ in Europe and to be understood in modified, culturally inflected terms elsewhere. However, what scholars rarely take into consideration is that the ‘pure-type’ of the nation-state was actually, empirically, an imperial state with more expansive boundaries and polities. In this paper, I take issue with the conceptual apparatus and methodological prescriptions of comparative historical sociology and reconsider social scientific accounts of the emergence of the nation-state within the connected histories of colonialism and empire. The failure to recognize prior global connections, or to regard them as substantively significant for the development of our concepts and categories, is bound up, I argue, with an elision of colonialism and empire as constitutive aspects in the development of the social sciences and, as such, limits the explanatory value of concepts in terms of their ability to account for present predicaments.

This talk is part of the Department of Sociology Seminar Series series.

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