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Emergent Actors in World Politics How States and Nations Develop and Dissolve

by Lars-Erik Cederman

Part of the Princeton Studies in Complexity Series

Emergent Actors in World Politics How States and Nations Develop and Dissolve Synopsis

The disappearance and formation of states and nations after the end of the Cold War have proved puzzling to both theorists and policymakers. Lars-Erik Cederman argues that this lack of conceptual preparation stems from two tendencies in conventional theorizing. First, the dominant focus on cohesive nation-states as the only actors of world politics obscures crucial differences between the state and the nation. Second, traditional theory usually treats these units as fixed. Cederman offers a fresh way of analyzing world politics: complex adaptive systems modeling. He provides a new series of models--not ones that rely on rational-choice, but rather computerized thought-experiments--that separate the state from the nation and incorporate these as emergent rather than preconceived actors. This theory of the emergent actor shifts attention away from the exclusively behavioral focus of conventional international relations theory toward a truly dynamic perspective that treats the actors of world politics as dependent rather than independent variables. Cederman illustrates that while structural realist predictions about unit-level invariance hold up under certain circumstances, they are heavily dependent on fierce power competition, which can result in unipolarity instead of the balance of power. He provides a thorough examination of the processes of nationalist mobilization and coordination in multi-ethnic states. Cederman states that such states' efforts to instill loyalty in their ethnically diverse populations may backfire, and that, moreover, if the revolutionary movement is culturally split, its identity becomes more inclusive as the power gap in the imperial center's favor increases.

Emergent Actors in World Politics How States and Nations Develop and Dissolve Press Reviews

Cederman presents an exhaustively researched, precisely orchestrated study using complex adaptive system computer modelling in an attempt to simulate emergent political actors and nationalism. It is an outstanding work, and Lars-Erik Cederman has earned a place on the bookshelf of every serious IR student. --International Relation

Book Information

ISBN: 9780691021485
Publication date: 23rd May 1997
Author: Lars-Erik Cederman
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 290 pages
Categories: Political structure & processes, International relations, Political science & theory,

About Lars-Erik Cederman

Lars-Erik Cederman is University Lecturer in International Relations at Somerville College, University of Oxford. He has written for such publications as International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, and European Journal of International Relations.

More About Lars-Erik Cederman

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