Regional modes of production and patterns of state formation in western europe

Michael Hechter, William Brustein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


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 the geographical distribution of the first modern state structures was largely determined by preexisting regional differences of social and economic organization, differences emanating 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 designated as the sedentary pastoral, petty commodity, and feudal modes of production. The optimal preconditions for the initial formation of modern states were to be found only in those regions dominated by the feudal mode of production. The paper concludes with a discussion of some methodological and theoretical implications of these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRational Choice Sociology
Subtitle of host publicationEssays on Theory, Collective Action and Social Order
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9781789903256
ISBN (Print)9781789903249
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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