This chapter starts from the theoretical premiss that the state, as the arena of political practices and as a set of institutions concerned with power, enjoys a ‘relative autonomy’ within the larger social formation of which it is a part. The chapter also attempts to situate the study of the precolonial Asante state in its larger social, economic, and ideological context. In the course of examining the interaction of state and society, a thesis is developed that states that the important changes in the structure of the Asante state evident in the period from the mid-18th to the late 19th centuries cannot be correlated with fundamental change in the underlying social and economic structures. Furthermore, a discussion of the scholarly debate over the nature and transformation of the Asante state is provided. Finally, an overview of the remaining chapters is given.
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