Christoffer Pfeiffer Cappelen

Christoffer Pfeiffer Cappelen


The modern state was an institutional innovation that fundamentally changed political, economic, and social dynamics. My research project investigates the historical emergence of the modern state. The project aims to trace the origins of the modern state and investigate how and why the modern state eventually won out over other forms of political organization such as city-states and empires. 

The project is situated within the Castles project, led by Jacob Gerner Hariri. The goal of this project is to collect data on European castles and use information on construction, destruction, and ownership to develop a measure of the monopolization of violence within a given territory. The castles data allows us to measure the historical process of state formation, when would-be rulers eliminated internal and external rivals and acquired a monopoly on the use of physical force within a given territory, and test prevailing theories of European state formation, such as the often made claim that “war made the state”. 

In my PhD project, I am also looking at both the causes and consequences of variations in statehood outside Europe. Among other things, I am exploring how subnational variations in the territorial reach of the state can be traced back to pre-colonial and colonial institutions and how it affects outcomes such as civil war.

Supervisor: Jacob Gerner Hariri

Primary fields of research

  • Comparative politics
  • State-building
  • Democracy
  • European state formation
  • Quantitative methods
  • Historical political development
  • Political institutions

ID: 194204721