“State-building trajectories in the periphery of the European state-system: The case of Mexico”

Directeur /trice Keith Krause (IHEID)
Co-directeur(s) /trice(s)
Résumé de la thèse

I intend to outline a political economy approach for the study of violence in order to analyse

the state-building trajectories in Mexico in the context of the development of the international

system (from 1810 – to the present day).


First, I look at some of the key current debates around the issues of political violence, conflict and state-building. Secondly, I present a summary of a broad literature review of political economy approaches to the study of violence and state-building dynamics. Third, I offer

a synthesis of the theoretical perspective and underline some major political economy’s insights

on the study of violence. Then, I sketch the main stages in the development of the Mexican state-

building project I intend to study. Finally, I describe the application of this method to on-going work on my MIS thesis.


My main claim is that the development of political institutions in the context of state- building dynamics is largely based on the underlying political economy of violence: namely, those factors that determine the distribution and concentration of the “means of coercion.” (Tilly)


Prima facie, I hypothesise that in cases where these changes lead actors to make claims (i.e. demand rights) that cannot be satisfied given existing normative/institutional frameworks, force is likely to be

used in order to enforce this claims.

The case of the history of Latin American –from early independence movements to the consolidation of modern day “democracies" – is particularly relevant: factors such as changes in land-ownership trends, the role of commodities in the emerging international trade networks and the changing outlook of local elites (both civil and military), accompanied/shaped not only the preliminary pro-independence discourse of Enlightened criollos at Cadiz, but the lengthy processes, the uses of violence and specific characteristics of the independence wars and the

new states that emerged in the aftermath.


This approach to the study of violence and politics is particularly interesting because of two reasons. First of all, sheds lights on existing dynamics between the ideational level (normative, discursive) and broader material and structural factors which some people(rationalists, realists) have seen as mutually exclusive approaches to the study of IR. Secondly, it

also raises questions about the role of agency in social and institutional change: particularly the

role of elites in articulating normative and legal frameworks to respond to challenges brought

about by structural change.

Délai administratif de soutenance de thèse