East of Westphalia
Shaping the body-politic via institutional charisma
in Political theologies and development in Asia
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This chapter investigates the religiopolitical nexus innervating the genesis of socio-political modernity by challenging Eurocentric benchmarks and bias. It does so by employing methodologies of historical sociology with the help of a critical reconstruction of categories of social theory. One of the primary fields of historical sociology concerns how the modern state has emerged and taken form since the Late Middle Ages. The chapter studies the process through the lenses of ‘political theology’ – and via the analysis of the influence of religious knowledge, symbols, and ‘charisma’ on state-formation. It focuses on Islamicate cases drawn from Western, Central, and South Asia. The resulting de-centred view of the religiopolitical nexus as articulated ‘East of Westphalia’ shifts the focus from the Leviathan-centred model of sacral and corporate sanctioning of sovereignty toward Asian Islamicate patterns relying on a religious charisma providing cohesion to assemblages of circles and networks.