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  • Zurich

    Conference, symposium - Political studies

    The Pillars of Rule

    The Writ of Dynasties and Nation-States in the Middle East and South Asia

    Max Weber famously argued that states lay claim to the monopoly of the legitimate use of violence over certain circumscribed territories. However, historical and anthropological research has challenged his ideal-typical vision by showing how the idea of the unitary state is a fiction that can only be produced through the action of interrelated but partly autonomous agents. States, and the various institutions that constitute them, face the strategic task of identifying and domesticating the social networks that are necessary for them to secure control over particular territories and their populations. Local strongmen and notables can in turn use their own local influence in order to gain recognition from higher-level, more powerful, state institutions. In this international conference, scholars from a variety of disciplines will explore the ways in which dynastic power and/or the rule of the state is asserted, negotiated and contested across both the Middle East and South Asia.

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