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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Lineages of the Absolutist State by Perry Anderson. Paperbackpages. Published July 17th by Verso first published June 1st To see what linhagesn friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about Lineages of the Absolutist Stateplease sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Lineages of the Absolutist State. Lists with This Book. Jul 23, Malcolm rated it really liked it Shelves: He continues the model of the predecessor Lineages by marking key differences between Europe east and west of the Elbe, and nails down the argument that the estadi difference between feudalism and absolutism in the east and west lies in the western melding of Roman and Germanic social forms as the Roman Empire broke apart.
The book is now 36 years old, and re-reading it 25 years after I first did has reminded me that it is a profound intervention into our understanding European history. Nov 22, David M added it. Today, when ‘history from below’ has become a watchword in both Marxist and non-Marxist circles, and has produced major gains in our understanding of the past, it is nevertheless necessary to recall one of the basic axioms of historical materialism: In other words, it is the construction and destruction of States which seal the basic shifts in the relations of produ Today, wstado ‘history from below’ has become a watchword in both Marxist and non-Marxist circles, estadk has produced major gains in our understanding of the past, it is nevertheless necessary to recall one of the basic axioms of historical materialism: In other words, it is the construction and destruction of States which seal the basic shifts in the relations of production, so long as classes subsist The abolition of the state altogether remains one of the goals of revolutionary socialism.
But the supreme significance accorded to its final disappearance testifies to all the weight of its prior presence in history. Absolutism, the first international State system in the modern world, has by no means yet exhausted its secrets or lessons for us.
This book can be read as a long detour – or series of detours – leading to capitalism. Capitalism, as the first universalizable mode of production, is also the beginning of a universal history of humanity. However, Anderson shows that this universal history did not come linhatens all at once.
Paradoxical as it may seem, its birth was an altogether staggered and piecemeal.
Moreover, no revolution is so radical as to completely abolish the past, and capitalism came about embedded in absolutiwta social formations Too often the categories of Marxism become hypostatized abstractions leaving actual history in the lurch. On the other hand, without theory we tend to fall into a barren nominalism that would deny there even is such a thing as a social totality.
In his joint capacity as historian and all-around theoretical guru of the left, Anderson is uniquely suited to redress this balance. However I’m not sure I’d recommend reading it straight through in a linear fashion as I just oh-so-foolishly did.
Lineages of the Absolutist State
It’s really more of a reference work. What I do strongly recommend is that everyone pick up the New Left Review, that great journal formed largely in the old boy’s image.
Guranteed to take you to the next level in your political consciousness. Also, read Anderson’s essays. No one stretches your vocabulary better than the magus of western Marxism. Some of his best collections include: This book together with its long introductory study, Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism is arguably the most important single contribution to Marxist thought in the historical discipline since Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution.
The scope of its conception and the depth of its analysis are still unrivaled. Even if he had written nothing else after, Anderson would have earned a chapel in the cathedral of historical materialism with it.
Aug 06, Georgette rated it it was amazing. The thesis that absolutism is a feudal which I’ll follow Samir Amin in saying is a peripheral form of the tributary mode of production form of state is absolutely vital. The contention that commutations to money-rent are, in themselves, capitalist relations of production in agriculture is incompatible with Marx’s theory of ground-rent and is contraindicated by Marx himself in the discussion of the transition from rent-in-kind to money-rent and in his classification in a similar vein of sharec The thesis that absolutism is a feudal which I’ll follow Samir Amin in saying is a peripheral form of the tributary mode of production form of state is absolutely vital.
The contention that commutations to money-rent are, in themselves, capitalist relations of production in agriculture is incompatible with Marx’s theory of ground-rent and is contraindicated by Marx himself in the discussion of the transition from rent-in-kind to money-rent and in his classification in a similar vein of sharecropping as an ‘intermediate form’ which requires the application of capital to the land and the concentration of lans to money-rent are, in themselves, capitalist relations of production in agriculture is incompatible with Marx’s theory of ground-rent and is contraindicated by Marx himself in the discussion of the transition from rent-in-kind to money-rent and in his classification in a similar vein of sharecropping as an ‘intermediate form’ which requires the application of capital to the land and the concentration of landed property as a ‘barrier’ to the application of capitalism since it is a derivative of surplus profit.
It is hence impossible in conditions of peasant production or petty commodity production on the land. I also think he is entirely correct in attributing an important role to the threat of the rise of absolutism in the West on the genesis of absolutism in Eastern Europe.
The historical contention that it was largely Swedish campaigns in Poland, Russia and Eastern Germany that gave rise is also in my assessment a correct judgement.
In connection with this, the observation that warfare is the principal rather ded property as a ‘barrier’ to the application of capitalism since it is a derivative of surplus profit. In connection with this, the observation that warfare is the principal rather than as in capitalism simply a means means by which feudal nobilities compete with one another since there is little stimulus and indeed even comparatively little opportunity to ‘invest’ in the productivity of agriculture, the individual fortunes of dynasties can largely only be buttressed and expanded by the acquisition of new land [and with it new labour, whether it is enserfed or not] through warfare; plunder also comes into this to an extent and the acquisition of liquid wealth can be important in this regard is also extremely apposite.
The historical sections are good, give a good sense of the conditions on which the dynastic success of various states was based and contributes to a good understanding of the character of the absolutist system of states that developed in Europe from the end of the Middle Age through to Some of the material, however, seems quite disconnected and there is comparatively little knotting together of economic, military, dynastic, secret diplomatic etc.
This is potentially due to the limited scope and objectives of this study but it certainly indicates directions in which this thesis can be taken. In a similar vein some fairly important states are entirely omitted Portugal, Saxony, Denmark and these could potentially provide some more illuminating material for further analysis.
The material on the development of Swedish absolutism is particularly illuminating and brings into relief the truncated development of the Swedish social formation from one that still had a large pre-feudal sector in the 15th century to an absolutist, ‘late-feudal’ state in the 17th. This, I think, is of particular note when viewed from the angle of the theory of uneven development and this could be broadened in a little analysis to resist temptations towards viewing absolutism as a strictly chronological period and instead as a feudal state form.
My only severe criticism is that the role of commerce, banking and the acquisition of colonies the section on Spain’s reliance on the import of treasure and the export of subsistence commodities to the Americas is acute, as is the analysis of the effects of this on the economy of the Spanish dynastic state; otherwise there is almost no mention of the acquisition of other colonies: The First French Empire [particularly important would be to analyse the social order in New France] and Virginia is treat somewhat offhandedly.
This can perhaps be account for the need for a vigorous defence of the feudal theory of absolutism in the face of trenchant opposition but it is also quite plain to me that absolutism, at least, played some role in the preparation of conditions for the bourgeois revolution as it preceded such revolutions in every single instance of the ‘classical’ type of bourgeois revolution, including arguably in Japan [where the Tokugawa shogunate would be a similar concentration of feudal power in the defence of the pre-capitalist Japanese nobility].
Lineages is an exceptional history; firstly for its scope, and secondly, for its analysis. Challenging read, but rewarding and very rich. Excellent comparative history of the transition of feudalism to an absolutist state in England, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Prussia, Russia, Poland, Austria and Ottoman Empires; bonus material with Japan. A total history in the Braudel sense looking at the politics, economics, sociology and geography aspects.
Linhagens do Estado absolutista by Ana Carolina Espíndola on Prezi
Excellent for reference in the future. Sep 14, lyell bark rated it it was amazing. When I was looking for a solid history of Europe three years ago, I wish somebody had handed me a copy of this.
But the untranslated terms absolutisa annoying at times. Feb 28, James Wentworth rated it it was amazing. Perry Anderson is a brilliant scholar. I read this book for the first time about 35 years ago. I bought myself a new copy for Christmas. The book is a survey of European State formation, arising out of feudalism on the Continent.
The predecessor state to the modern one is a missing piece in most surveys of history; the book repaired this.
A fascinating look at the structures that underpinned feudalism and it’s development towards absolutism and capitalist society. The case by case presentation of major developments in Europe allow the isolation of specific factors that underpin specific developments.
My initial complaint that the book provides an overly Eurocentric viewpoint was tackled in the end with an in depth look at the Ottoman Empire and separate sections looking at Feudal Japan, the Islamic Empires and China.
My only compl A fascinating look at the structures that underpinned feudalism and it’s development towards absolutism and capitalist society. My only complaint is that the author broadly uses levels of development to distinguish the separate failings of states, which is not particularly helpful, and should really have warranted further discussions on specifics like tax capacity and military development, though these are discussed separately.
A table detailing military sizes and tax capacity would have been helpful here.
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