Empire as analytical category

In a discussion held on our e-platform, Lorenzo Andolfatto, Jon Chappell, Leigh Jenco and David Mervart engaged in a discussion about empire as an analytical category. What are the heuristic limits of this category? How far can it encompass the specific features of the very different political institutions it often refers to? Is it possible or desirable to get rid of it? Here are some reflections on the issue:

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