The term imperialism has been used in many ways, but virtually all refer to the coercive incorporation of territories, along with their economies, social formations, and political systems, into wider structures of power dominated by “foreigners.” So defined, imperialism is as old as recorded history, and the causes of particular episodes, widely separated in time and space, may be very different. These causes may also be represented differently, depending on the analytical approach: for instance, whether it is that of political economy, historical sociology, realist international relations, or cultural theory.

Nevertheless, some form of economic determination is evident in most studies of imperialism, including work on capitalist imperialism in the modern period, which has attracted the bulk of critical attention. In large part, this is because ...

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