Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The compound word city-state was coined in nineteenth-century political science to describe a type of state concurrently in terms of its characteristics as a settlement and as a social and political organization. As a settlement, the city-state consists of a comparatively large and densely populated urban nucleus with a sufficient degree of internal complexity to foster division of labor, specialized skills and crafts, trade, and market exchange and thus to act as a social, economic, and religious center of an agricultural hinterland. As a political organization, the city-state exhibits the capacity and level of institutionalization to exercise legal authority over a particular population and territory. Although initially conceived with reference to classical antiquity, in the twentieth century the city-state model has been identified with a cultural-evolutionary stage of global significance, found in Mesopotamian, Mesoamerican, African, Asian, and European civilizations. In this comparative perspective, city-states occurred commonly in clusters, forming extensive ...