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Title: Sovereignty, religion, & the nation-state : statecraft & collective identity in England, c.1530-1601
Author: De Carvalho, Benjamin
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2009
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Rather than seeing state, nation and sovereignty as three distinct concepts each with its distinct emergence and history, this dissertation suggests that International Relations scholars ought to understand them as intrinsically connected, and mutually constitutive. Through a study of discursive practices of identity inscription of the early modern English state from the Reformation to the end of the reign of Elizabeth I, I argue that a critical component of state-formation is the formation of collective identity, and that the relationship between church and state and between identity and religion were crucial in the constitution of a specific constellation of sovereign state, nation and religion in the early modern period: the nation-state. Rather than seeing nation and state formation as distinct processes, IR scholars ought to investigate ‘nation-state formation’. This thesis examines state formation in England through the use of religion as a means of governing the population and encouraging a sense of obligation and collective identity. Through rearticulating a pre-existing religious discourse on the limits of political authority, the state shifted the centre of obligation from the church to the state. In doing so, collective identity was consolidated and the polity transformed into the institutional structures we now commonly recognise as the ‘nation-state’. In endogenizing identity, I suggest a framework for understanding the emergence of the nation-state which sees power as dependent upon its practice and state and nation as inherently contingent. Furthermore, I make the case for understanding sovereignty as socially constructed, and the state itself as involved in the continuous activity of statecraft, aiming at closing its borders through inscribing a homogenous identity onto both territory and population. The merits of such a framework are explored through a case study of English statutes between 1530 and 1601.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available