This comparative analysis demonstrates how state fragmentation results from a causal chain of geopolitical strains, resource shortfalls, intra-elite conflict, and the deficiency of a central government's coercive capability to hold the society together. The emergence process of new sovereign states is also discussed. State fragmentation constitutes a major portion of social change in a long span of world history. Such social change raises two questions. One is why in the midst of a revolution some states fragmented territorially while others stayed intact? Another question is why some states broke up in violence while others underwent a peaceful separation? "State Fragmentation: Geopolitics and Social Change" attempts to address these issues both theoretically and empirically from a geopolitical perspective, yet with a sociological focus on how 'politics works from outside in' to bring about the change within the state. Eight historical cases from the 18th century through the 20th century are selected for a comparative analysis.
The objective is to illustrate the main thesis that the geopolitical rise and fall of a state depend upon its geo-positional advantage and disadvantage in the world system, and this geo-positional power of the state, while interacting with other critical socio-economic factors, have generated dynamic forces of change, leading to either state fragmentation or state formation. The comparative analysis is specifically intended to demonstrate how state fragmentation results from a causal chain of geopolitical strains, resource shortfalls, intra-elite conflict, and the deficiency of the central government's coercive capability to hold the society together. On the other hand, as the author contends, it is the overall crisis of old state's territorial fragmentation that often serves as a breeding ground for the emergence of new sovereign states.
Publisher: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd