Construction Through Conflict: Computational Models of State Formation and National Identity
- Author(s): Palley, Stephen
- Advisor(s): Lohmann, Susanne
- Stein, Arthur A
- et al.
The surface of the Earth is divided into over 200 internationally recognized states, but
only a fraction of these are what could be called nation-states—that is, states whose
people generally agree that they are members of the same national group first and
foremost, and therefore consider themselves related to one another on an ideological
level. What binds people from different backgrounds into a cohesive nation that is
capable of effective collective action? In this dissertation, I develop two computational
models—the Territorial Resources Model and the Ideological Alliances Model—and use
them to test conflict-based theories of nation-state formation. I find these models generate
complex patterns of national consolidation similar to the historical record in both the
ancient and early Modern eras, suggesting that intergroup conflict is a good candidate
explanation for variance in modern state formation outcomes.