[OPE-L] Alejandro Colas Empire

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Wed Mar 07 2007 - 22:15:46 EST


Alejandro Colas' book seems very good indeed.

The notion of Empire has in recent years taken on 
a renewed importance in world politics. US 
foreign policy has in particular been associated 
with this concept by both critics and supporters 
of American global power. But what exactly is an 
empire? What distinguishes different forms of 
empire? Is this category still useful in a 
post-colonial world?

These and other related questions are addressed 
in this historically-informed conceptual 
introduction to the idea of empire. Alejandro 
Colás draws on interdisciplinary debates 
surrounding this disputed notion, and offers a 
survey of different imperial experiences across 
time and place. Successive chapters consider the 
imperial organisation of political space, the 
role of markets in sustaining imperial rule and 
the contradictory expressions of imperial 
culture. Colás argues that in each of these 
arenas we can establish differences among 
empires, but also contrast imperial polities to 
other forms of political rule. He also suggests 
that the experiences and legacies of empire are 
key to an understanding of the world today, 
including forms of global governance and 
experiments in nation-building.

Using wide-ranging examples, the book discusses 
some of the major theories of empire and 
imperialism in an accessible and engaging way. 
Above all, the text aims to bring the concept of 
empire alive to those concerned with contemporary 
world politics and society. It will be of great 
interest to those studying and teaching world 
history, international relations, comparative 
politics or global sociology.

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