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Part of the book series: Institute of Social Studies ((ISDS,volume 2))


Political penetration is a broad organizing rubric subsuming processes associated with the formation of new post-colonial states.1 It is an heuristic concept aggregating that ensemble of processes by which the political-administrative-juridical centre of a new state (1) establishes an effective and authoritative central presence throughout its geographical and sectoral peripheries, and (2) acquires a capacity for the extraction and mobilization of resources to implement its policies and pursue its goals, however these may be determined. In both historical and comparative perspective these processes are an integral part of the more all-embracing concept of ‘state-formation’.2 The latter, however, includes all of those processes by which both external sovereignty (i.e. independence vis-à-vis the new state’s international environment) is maximized and internal sovereignty (i.e. supremacy vis-à-vis its internal environment) is established. Although the two dimensions are empirically inseparable, due to the interpenetration of external and internal forces and influences, the emphasis in this volume is upon the creation of ‘internal’ sovereignty in new states, with reference where appropriate to how the prevailing international system may condition or inhibit that process.

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L. Cliffe J. S. Coleman M. R. Doornbos

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© 1977 Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands

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Coleman, J.S. (1977). The Concept of Political Penetration. In: Cliffe, L., Coleman, J.S., Doornbos, M.R. (eds) Government and Rural Development in East Africa. Institute of Social Studies, vol 2. Springer, Dordrecht.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-90-247-1884-9

  • Online ISBN: 978-94-010-1030-6

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