Social Power and the Turkish State

Social Power and the Turkish State

Social Power and the Turkish State

Social Power and the Turkish State

Synopsis

Taking Michael Mann's analysis of the sources of social power in Europe as a starting point, Tim Jacoby relates Turkish political, ideological, economic and military power networks to developmental patterns in the country, to reveal the modern state's relationship with civil society.

Excerpt

The last decades of the twentieth century saw a great fourishing of comparative and historical sociology. Writers like Shmuel Eisenstadt, Barrington Moore, Norbert Elias, Perry Anderson, Charles Tilly, Theda Skocpol and myself addressed in some depth such big issues as the causes of social development, the rise of the West, the development of the modern state, the nature of the capitalist dynamic etc., etc. This was a very vibrant period for sociological theory on the grand scale. Though there were many disagreements among the main contributors, we provided a body of knowledge suffciently coherent to provide the core syllabus of many university courses today.

However, it has been somewhat Eurocentric, not in any 'Orientalising' sense of denigrating the rest of the world, but in taking its empirical evidence mainly from a geographical base which may have started in the Middle East, or even in ancient societies scattered over the world, but which then progressively moved westward through time, usually ending up in Europe since the eighteenth century - with Americans and Russians allowed honorary membership of this region. General theories based on such geography would clearly be too narrow. Indeed, they might even be falsifed by the experience of other regions.

Recently, the 'Chinese revisionists' have mounted such a challenge when asserting that European development only overtook China in the mid-nineteenth century - especially when they say this was for contingent reasons like the location of coal-felds.However, it is not yet clear that they are correct. Miguel Centeno, in his recent Blood and Debt, War and the Nation-State in Latin America (2002) has managed to relativise the Tilly/Mann core orthodoxy on state formation by asking the very acute question: 'if states do not make much war or collect many taxes, what kind of modern state and nation develop?' He shows that Latin American states did indeed develop very differently, precisely because they did not follow the war/fscal extraction route to the modern state. Indeed, he shows that this is why both states and nations are relatively weak there.

Tim Jacoby here adds another important case which differs in even more

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