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50 J. Common Mkt. Stud. 1 (2012)

handle is hein.journals/jcmks50 and id is 1 raw text is: 

JCMS 2012 Volume 50. Number 1. pp. 1-20

JCMS Annual Lecture 2011

Europe and Its Empires: From Rome to the European Union*

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill/Free University of Amsterdam

This article claims that the territorial structure of government results from a tension between scale
and community.  The  benefits of scale arise from the nature of public goods, and include economic
exchange, political power and protection against external shocks. Communities  are double-edged
in that they are  characterized by parochial  altruism. Altruism and  social solidarity facilitate
government  within communities,  but parochial attachments constrain government  among  commu-
nities. Scale and community, as theorized here, provide a setting for strategic choice. Both are in
flux as patterns of human interaction change, and government itself shapes those patterns. Evidence
is drawn from  the five largest polities in the history of western Europe: the Roman Empire, the
Frankish Empire,  Napoleonic  France, the Third Reich and the European  Union.


Five large polities have  existed in the forests, mountains, valleys  and islands that lie north
of the Mediterranean   and west  of what is now  Russia  (Figure  1). By 'large', I mean having
a land  area no  less than one-fifth of  the west  European   landmass   of 6 million  km2.  By
'polity', I mean  a government   having   a reasonable  probability  of implementing   authori-
tative decisions  for the population   living in its territory. The  five polities are those  of
Rome,   the Franks,  Napoleonic   France,  Nazi  Germany and the European Union (EU).1
   These   may  be conceived   as empires  in the Roman   sense of exerting  imperium   (power,
authority) over a great territory containing diverse communities.   Each  of them subordinates
formerly  independent   units in a composite  polity. Each  combines   direct and indirect rule.
And  each  uses  pre-existing structures  and local elites to do so.2 Empires  have  a flexible,
mosaic  quality. They  encompass,   but  do not homogenize, populations with diverse histo-
ries, languages  and religions, and  they adopt  a mix of strategies to impose  their rule.

* JCMS plenary lecture at the Biennial Conference of the European Union Studies Association, Boston, MA, March 2011.
This article was written when I was a fellow at the Kolleg-forschergruppe on the transformative power of Europe, Free
University of Berlin. Drafts were presented as a keynote speech at the ECSA Young European Integration Researchers
Interdisciplinary Conference, Berlin, February 2011; at 'The EU toward a Federation?', Charles University, Prague, May
2011; at the University of Toronto; and as my Alexander-von-Humboldt prize lecture at the Free University of Berlin,
October 2011. I would like to thank Harold Bathelt, David Banerjee, Richard Corbett, Sebastian Conrad, Lawrence Ezrow,
Philipp Genschel, Edgar Grande, Seva Gunitskiy, John Hall, Markus Jachtenfuchs, Peter Katzenstein, Hans-Dieter Klinge-
mann, Christiane Lemke, Benjamin Nendorfer, Lenka Rovna, J6r~me Schifer, Frank Schimmelfennig, Sid Tarrow, Zavis
Zeman, participants in the Free University of Amsterdam/Amsterdam University discussion group, and three anonymous
reviewers for comments. I am indebted to Liesbet Hooghe for discussing and framing the ideas found here over many years.
' The purpose of these criteria is to frame a diverse but manageable set of cases for comparative analysis. I exclude the
Habsburg Empire because it does not meet the size criterion and the Soviet and Ottoman empires because they are located
chiefly outside western Europe.
2 These core characteristics feature prominently in the vast literature on the topic (Doyle, 1986, p. 45; Eisenstadt, 1963, pp.
22-3; Motyl, 2001, pp. 4, 21; Mtinkler, 2005, pp. 4ff.; Tilly, 1997, p. 3).

C 2011 The Author(s) JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies C 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main
Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA

DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-5965.2011.02218.x

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