Early State, Developed State, Mature State: The Statehood Evolutionary Sequence

In the theory of the early state it was fundamentally new and important from a methodological point of view to define the early state as a separate stage of evolution essentially different from the following stage, the one of the full-grown or mature state. ‘To reach the early state level is one thing, to develop into a full-blown, or mature state is quite another’ (Claessen and Skalník 1978b: 22). At the same time they (as well as a number of other authors) indicated quite soundly that not all early states were able to become and actually became mature ones (see e.g., Claessen and Skalník 1978a; Claessen and van de Velde 1987b; Shifferd 1987). Thus there was formed exactly an evolutionary sequence of statehood in the form of a two-stage scheme: the early state – the mature state. And that explained a lot in the mechanisms and directions of the political evolution. However, the former of these two stages of the evolution of statehood (the early state) has been studied rather thoroughly, whereas the latter (the mature state) has not become the subject of a similarly close examination. Unfortunately, the analysis of the mature state has been little advanced in those several contributions to the subsequent volumes of the Early State project (further referred to as Project) where the subject was touched upon. In the present paper after a brief analysis of the Project participants' views on the mature state I will present my own approach to the distinction of the stages of the evolution of statehood which to my mind develops and supplements Claessen – Skalník's ideas on the subject. However, this has made it necessary to suggest new formulations of the main characteristics of each stage of the evolution of the state.
Keywords state  early state  mature state  developped state  Claessen
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