War and State Formation in Ancient China and Early Modern Europe

by

The Eurocentric conventional wisdom holds that the West is unique in having a multi-state system in international relations and liberal democracy in state-society relations. At the same time, the Sinocentric perspective believes that China is destined to have authoritarian rule under a unified empire. In fact, China in the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods (656–221 BC) was once a system of sovereign territorial states similar to Europe in the early modern period. Both cases witnessed the prevalence of war, formation of alliances, development of the centralized bureaucracy, emergence of citizenship rights, and expansion of international trade. This book, first published in 2005, examines why China and Europe shared similar processes but experienced opposite outcomes. This historical comparison of China and Europe challenges the presumption that Europe was destined to enjoy checks and balances while China was preordained to suffer under a coercive universal status.
  • Cambridge University Press; July 2005
  • ISBN 9780511158933
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: War and State Formation in Ancient China and Early Modern Europe
  • Author: Victoria Tin-bor Hui
  • Imprint: Cambridge University Press

In The Press

'Victoria Hui is perhaps the only person in the international relations field capable of writing such a sophisticated comparative history of the Chinese and European state systems. This book is pioneering in its efforts to 'bring Asia in' to the study of macro-historical change in world politics. She demonstrates expert command of Chinese and European sources, international relations theory, and social science research design. The result is a provocative argument about the importance of strategic amorality, ruthlessness, and resource mobilization in state building, and about why ancient Chinese states outperformed European states in these areas.' Alastair Iain Johnston, Harvard University