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Hegemony in International Society$
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Ian Clark

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199556267

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199556267.001.0001

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Collective Hegemony: The Concert of Europe 1815–1914

Collective Hegemony: The Concert of Europe 1815–1914

Chapter:
(p.73) 4 Collective Hegemony: The Concert of Europe 1815–1914
Source:
Hegemony in International Society
Author(s):

Ian Clark (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199556267.003.0005

Hegemony is normally considered to take a singular form. However, historians of the Concert of Europe have made the case for regarding it as a collective hegemony, on the part of the great powers in combination. This argument is made in relation to their role in the post-Napoleonic settlement at the Congress of Vienna in 1815 (and the admission of France), and subsequently to the management of the Eastern question at the Congress of Berlin in 1878. The distinctive characteristic of a collective hegemony is that it possesses two axes of legitimacy. The first is the vertical one between the great powers combined, and the remainder of international society. In addition, a horizontal axis operates amongst the great powers themselves, and this serves as an extra legitimacy constituency. A collective hegemony may be more readily entrusted by the lesser states, because of the equilibrium built into the horizontal axis. However, its provision of public goods may not be as effective, because of the compromises that this necessarily entails.

Keywords:   collective hegemony, Concert of Europe, Congress of Berlin, Congress of Vienna, Eastern question, France, great powers

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