Bybelte-Europa eller Riks-Europa? – Stein Rokkan og Europas historie
- Side: 222-231
- Publisert på Idunn: 2011-09-13
- Publisert: 2011-09-13
Stein Rokkans idé om «Bybelte-Europa» har prega mange norske statsvitarars oppfatning av europeisk historie. Men nærare undersøking undergrev Rokkans framstilling. Han overvurderte byanes tyding og undervurderte Det heilage romerske riket og europeisk stormaktspolitikk i sin analyse av det moderne Europas framvekst.
Citybelt Europe or Imperial Europe? Stein Rokkan and the history of Europe
Professor of sociology, Stein Rokkan (1921–1979), found a “great paradox” in the history of European state-building: Why did the nation-state not emerge at the centre of Europe, where it could have built on the legacy of the Roman Empire, but rather in the surrounding “periphery”? His answer was that the nation-state was impeded by the historical presence of a great number of strong and autonomous cities in the area stretching from northern Italy to the Baltic and North seas. He called this area “Citybelt Europe”. Rokkan’s notion of the citybelt is key to his interpretation of European state-building, and has influenced many political scientists’ and sociologists’ understanding of European history. However, professional historians have hardly commented, and nobody at all seems to have critically examined the notion of the citybelt. This article argues that the historical basis of the notion is weak. It goes on to propose an alternative explanation of the “great paradox” that emphasises the significance of the Holy Roman Empire and of European power politics. It concludes that a viable cosmopolitan-federal German-Roman empire was a more important reason for the late arrival of the nation-state in the western part of Central and Southern Europe than strong cities.