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New Left Review I/101-102, January-April 1977


Tom Nairn

The Twilight of the British State

‘External conflicts between states form the shape of the state. I am assuming this “shape” to mean—by contrast with internal social development—the external configuration, the size of a state, its contiguity (whether strict or loose), and even its ethnic composition . . . We must stress that in the life of peoples external events and conditions exercise a decisive influence upon the internal constitution.’ [*] The Historical Essays of Otto Hintze, London 1975.

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