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What's This, Then? 'Romanes Eunt Domus'?

Daniel H. Nexon. "What’s This, Then? ’Romanes Eunt Domus’?." International Studies Perspectives 9.3 (2008): 300-308.

This article cautions against a number of errors endemic to recent attempts to derive "lessons of empire" for United States foreign policy and grand strategy: (1) justifying the comparison between the United States and past imperial polities based on shared characteristics unrelated to the analytic category of empire, (2) failing to offer recommendations specific to imperial dynamics, (3) assuming that "empire" serves as an "analytic box" composed of otherwise indistinguishable entities, and (4) assessing the question of American Empire in categorical, rather than relational, terms. I next offer an ideal-typical account of the structure and dynamics of empires and discuss how such attention to patterns of domination and resistance—which I term the "micropolitics of hierarchy"—might provide better analytic leverage over key contemporary challenges than the traditional states-under-anarchy framework.

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