Regional modes of production and patterns of state formation in Western Europe.

M. Hechter, W. Brustein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


The rise of the modern territorial state in early modern western Europe was a spatially skewed process. An endogenous model of the uneven pattern of 16th-century state formation is presented. It holds that this geographical distribution was largely determined by preexisting regional differences of social and economic organization, which emanated from the 12th century if not earlier. The model specifies that three distinct regional modes of production existed in 12th-century western Europe. These postulated forms of social organization are 1) sedentary pastoral; 2) petty commodity; 3) feudal modes of production. Optimal preconditions for the formation of modern states were found only in regions dominated by the feudal mode of production. Concludes with a discussion of some methodological and theoretical implications of these findings. - Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1061-1094
Number of pages34
JournalAmerican Journal of Sociology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1980
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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