Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
State formation refers to the processes leading to the centralization of political power within a well-defined territory. These processes are not historically and geographically uniform, and there is no single explanation for them. There have been a variety of paths to statehood. This entry deals with the most general question of state formation concerning the historical origin of states as such as well as with more specific questions connected to the development of the modern states system and to state formation in the contemporary world. State formation in early agrarian societies, in the early capitalist West, and in the era of decolonization and imperial dissolution display different processes and institutional features and will also be analyzed. There are at least three major theoretical perspectives on the state and state formation. The pluralist view describes the state as a set of various interest groups, an arena for contending actors. The Marxist ...