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The Globalization of International Society$
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Tim Dunne and Christian Reus-Smit

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198793427

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198793427.001.0001

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Empire and Fragmentation

Empire and Fragmentation

Chapter:
(p.145) 8 Empire and Fragmentation
Source:
The Globalization of International Society
Author(s):

Jennifer M. Welsh

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198793427.003.0008

This chapter challenges Bull and Watson’s 1984 account of the nature and impact of European imperialism on the so-called periphery. In contrast to a membership narrative, which analyses who became part of the expanding ‘core’ of international society and when, it draws on theories of interaction to demonstrate how the development of states in the colonial world emerged through political processes that engaged both the colonizers and the colonized. Two main claims follow from this. The first concerns the limited capacity of European imperial powers to master the colonial spaces that they encountered. The power of local agency meant that the boundaries of European empires were often ill-defined, and their legal authority was enmeshed with the law and customs of indigenous subjects. Second, the outcome of interaction between Europe and non-Europe was a diversity of political and legal forms, ranging from quasi-sovereignty to full territorial rule by the metropole.

Keywords:   interactional theory, private actors, divided sovereignty, hybridity, localization

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