The history of the modern social sciences can be seen as a series of attempts to confront the challenges of social disorder and revolution wrought by the international expansion of capitalist social relations. Alexander Anievas focuses on one particularly significant aspect of this story: the intersocietal or geosocial origins of the two world wars, and, more broadly, the confluence of factors behind the Thirty Years’ Crisis between 1914 and 1945.
Anievas presents the Thirty Years’ Crisis as a result of the development of global capitalism with all its destabilizing social and geopolitical consequences, particularly the intertwined and co-constitutive nature of imperial rivalries, social revolutions, and anti-colonial struggles. Building on the theory of uneven and combined development, he unites geopolitical and sociological explanations into a single framework, thereby circumventing the analytical stalemate between primacy of domestic politics and primacy of foreign policy approaches.
“The drawing together of political economy and military-security concerns is extremely well done. . . . [Anievas] marries persuasive theoretical insights with rich historical discussion.”
—George Lawson, London School of Economics
“Capital, the State, and War is an impressive intellectual achievement. Theoretically sophisticated and empirically rich, it presents a penetrating historical materialist account of a key period in modern history. Anievas has made a major contribution to the study of capitalism, empire, and international politics.”
—Duncan Bell, University of Cambridge
“In Capital, the State, and War, Alexander Anievas outlines a solution to the problem that has trapped disciplinary IR but also disciplinary history and historical sociology for about a century, namely the ceaseless debate over the ‘domestic’ versus ‘international’ sources of conflict, an argument began even before IR ‘realism’ itself was invented in the 1930s and 1940s.”
—Robert Vitalis, University of Pennsylvania
Cover photo: World War I Memorial in Brussels, Belgium. © Mark Winburn/Thinkstock