Held, David. “Central Perspectives on the
“While Marx and Engels did not deny that people had unique capacities, desires and an interest in free choice, they attacked relentlessly the idea that the starting point of the analysis of the state can be the individual, and his or her relation to the state” (24).
Marx: “By defending private property the state has already taken a side. The state, then, is not an independent structure or set of institutions above society, i.e. a ‘public power’ acting for the public. On the contrary, it is deeply embedded in socio-economic relations and linked to particular interests” (25).
The Eighteenth Brumaire: “This executive power, with its enormous bureaucratic and military organization, with its ingenious state machinery, embracing wide strata, with a host of officials numbering half a million, beside an army of another half million, this appalling parasitic body…enmeshes the body of French society like a net and chokes all its spores” (27).
Marx: “The executive, under particular circumstances — for example, when there is a relative balance of social forces — has the capacity to promote change as well as coordinate it.” (27).
“Hence, though Bonaparte usurped the political power of the bourgeoisie’s representatives, he protected the ‘material power’ of the bourgeoisie itself — a vital source of loans and revenue” (28).
“The state, nevertheless, is characterized as essentially dependent upon society and upon those who dominate the economy: ‘independence’ is exercised only to the extent that conflicts must be settled between different sections of capital (industrialists and financiers, for example), and between ‘domestic capitalism’ and pressures generated by international capitalist markets” (29).
“Following Marx’s analysis, Lenin insisted that the eradication of capitalist relations of production must be accompanied by the destruction of the capitalist state apparatus: the state, as a class instrument, had to be destroyed and direct democracy — as imagined in part by Rousseau — installed” (29).
“The vital business of the state takes place, not in representative assemblies, but in state bureaucracies, where alliances can be established out of public law” (30).
“Since the dominant classes are vulnerable to fragmentation, their long term interests require protection by the state” (33).
“The question of the class nature of the state is, Weber maintained, distinct from the question of whether a centralized bureaucratic administration is a necessary feature of political and social organization” (35).
Opposite of Marx: “The modern state is not, Weber contended, an effect of capitalism; it preceeded and helped promote capitalist development” (36).
“Bureaucrats, unlike politicians, cannot take a passionate stand. They do not have the training — and bureaucracies are not structurally designed — for the consideration of political, alongside technical or economic, criteria” (37).
“Reliance upon those who control resources would be enhanced, for the abolition of the market would be the abolition of a key countervailing power to the state” (38).
“The essence of the classical pluralist position stems from the view that there are many determinants of the distribution of power other than class and, therefore, many power centers” (40).
Weber, Max. Economy and Society, “Bureaucracy”.
Essence of Modern Bureaucracy:
1) the regular activities required for the purposes of the bureaucratically governed structure are assigned as official duties.
2) The authority to give commands required for the discharge of these duties is distributed in a stable way and is strictly delimited by rules concerning the coercive means, physical, sacerdotal, or otherwise, which may be placed at the disposal of the officials.
3) Methodical provision is made for the regular and continuous fulfillment of these duties and for the exercise of the corresponding rights; only persons who qualify under general rules are employed.
“Bureaucracy, thus understood, is fully developed in political and ecclesiastical communities only in the modern state and in the private economy only in the most advanced institutions of capitalism” (956).
“That the office is a ‘vocation’ finds expression, first, in the requirement of a prescribed special examinations as prerequisites of employment” (959).
Mann, Michael. “The Autonomous Power of the State: its Origins, Mechanisms and Results” 1984.
“This chapter tries to specify the origins, mechanisms and results of the autonomous power which the state possesses in relations to the major groupings of civil society” (109).
“I define the state and then pursue the implications of that definition. Two essential parts of the definition, centrality and territoriality, are discussed in relation to two types of state power, termed here despotic and infrastructural power.
State power concerns: “The first sense concerns what we might term the despotic power of state elite, the range of actions which the elite is empowered to undertake without routine, institutionalized negotiation with civil society groups” (113).
“But there is a second sense in which people talk of ‘the power of the state,’ especially in today’s capitalist democracies. We might term this infrastructural power, the capacity of the state actually to penetrate civil society and to penetrate civil society, and to implement logistically political decisions throughout the realm” (113).
“So in one sense states in the capitalistic democracies are weak, in another they are strong. They are ‘despotically weak’ but ‘infrastructurally strong.’ The first denotes power by the state elite itself over civil society. The second denotes the power of the state to penetrate and centrally coordinate the activities of civil society through its own infrastructure” (114).
“All infrastructurally powerful states, including the capitalist democracies, are strong in relation to individuals and to the weaker groups in civil society, but the capitalists democratic states are feeble in relation to dominant groups, at least in comparison to most historical states” (115).
How states penetrate social life:
- a division of labor between the state’s main activities which it coordinated centrally
- literacy, enabling stabilized messages to be transmitted through the state’s territories by its agents
- coinage, and weights and measures, allowing commodities to be exchanged under an ultimate guarantee of value by the state
- rapidity of communication of messages and of transport of people and resources
Mann believes in the 1) necessity of the state; 2) its multiplicity of functions ; 3) territorialized centrality (119).
“If we add together the necessity, multiplicity and territorial centrality of the state, we can in principle explain its autonomous power” (125).
Despotic state power: “the power of the state elite over civil society classes and elites, is what has normally been meant by state power in the literature” (135).
Abrahams, Phillip. “Notes on the Difficulty of Studying the State” 1988.
“The state comes into being as a structuration within political practice; it starts its life as an implicit construct; it is then relied — as the res publica, the public reification no less — and acquires an overt symbolic identity progressively divorced from practice as an illusory account of practice” (58).
“We have come to take the state for granted as an object of political practice and political analysis while remaining quite spectacularly unclear as to what the state is” (59).
“It seems necessary to say, then, that the state, conceived of as a substantial entity separate from society has proved a remarkably elusive object of analysis” (61).
“In other words I am suggesting that the state, like the town and the family, is a spurious object of sociological concern and that we should now move beyond Hegel, Marx, Stein, Gumplowicz, and Weber, on from the analysis of the state to a concern with the actualities of social subordination” (63).
“My argument, in sum, is that we should take seriously the remark of Engels to the effect that ‘the state presents itself to us as the first ideological power over man’” (64).
“Despite the constant assertion by political sociologists that their discipline is constituted as an attempt to give a social explanation of the state, the state is in practice hardly considered at all in the normal conduct of political sociology” (64).
“In sum the state is not the reality which stands behind the mask of political practice. It is itself the mask which prevents our seeing political practice as it is” (82).
“The relationship of the state-system and the state-idea to other forms of power should and can be central concerns of political analysis” (82).
Skocpol, Theda. “Bringing the State Back In: Strategies of Analysis in Current Research” 1988.
“I shall argue in this essay that many of them have implicitly converged on complementary arguments and strategies of analysis” (3).
“Social scientists are now willing to offer state-centered explanations, not just of totalitarian countries and late industrializers, but of
“States conceived as organizations claiming control over territories and people may formulate and pursue goals that are not simply reflective of the demands or interests of social groups, classes or society. This is what is usually meant by state autonomy” (9).
“In short, ‘state autonomy’ is not a fixed structural feature of any governmental system. It can come and go. This is true not only because crises may precipitate the formultation of official strategies and policies by elites or administrators who otherwise might not mobilize their own potentials for autonomous action” (14).
“A state’s means of raising and deploying financial resources tell us more than could any other single factor about its existing (and immediately potential) capacities to create or strengthen state organizations, to employ personnel, to coopt political support, to subsidize economic enterprises, and to fund social programs” (17).
“The need to analyze states states in relation to socioeconomic and sociocultural contexts is convincingly demonstrated in the best current research on state capacities” (20).
“On the one hand sates may be viewed as organizations through which official collectivities may pursue distinctive goals, realizing them more or less effectively given the available state resources in relation to social settings. On the other hand, states may be viewed more macroscopically as configurations of organization and action that influence the meanings and methods of politics for all groups and classes in society” (28).
Almond, Gabriel. “The Return to the State.” 1988.
“The pluralist-functionalist and Marxist paradigms of contemporary political science, are said to be societally reductionist, according no autonomy to state structures and politics and hence fundamentally lacking in explanatory power” (853).
“The disillusionment and demoralization in U.S. politics in the 1960s and 1970s shook the credibility of this model; and in its place a ‘plural-elitist’ model developed in the work of Lowi and others, came to be an influential view in the discipline” (854).
“As the concept of the state fell into disuse in mainstream political science it was replaced by such terms as government and later by political system” (855).
“For Marxists and neo-Marxists, however, the state continued to be a central concept, the instrumentality through which the capitalists class dominated the social order” (856).
“Skocpol’s notion of the autonomy of the state has to be seen in the context of that Marxist, neo-Marxist and post-Marxist polemic” (856).
Theda Skocpol states that the previously dominant pluralist-functionalist approaches viewed government ‘primarily as an arena within which economic interest groups or normative social movements contended or allied with one another to shape the making of public policy decisions’” (859).
“According to Krasner, where pluralists do recognize the initiating role of political leaders, they reduce state institutions to ‘individuals acting in role’ not restrained by institutional imperatives and restraints” (859).
“It is sobering that although their central theme is the affirmation of statism as an alternative to pluralism, neither Skocpol nor Krasner nor the other antipluralists cited here seem to have looked into the original confrontation of statism and pluralism at the end of the nineteenth century and in the early decades of the twentieth” (860).
“Although [Skocpol’s and Krasner’s] argument rests on the claim that the pluralist empirical literature reduced the state and government to an arena and treated the government as a dependent variable, they simply fail to discuss the very substantial pluralist interest group literature…” (860).
“Our analysis of the evidence suggests that this characterization of pluralism both in theory and in empirical research is incorrect. Overwhelmingly, the pluralist literature has been shown to be one in which governmental autonomy is recognized ; in which the explanatory logic goes in both directions, from society to the state, from state to the society” (868).
“The neostatist movement wants to reverse this trend and return to large and relatively loosely defined concepts such as the state and society. They write about strong and weak states and strong and weak societies, but it is not clear what they mean by strength and weakness” (869).
Krasner, Stephen. “Approaches to the State: Alternative Conceptions and Historical Dynamics.” 1984.
“From the late 1950s until the mid-1970s the term state virtually disappeared from the professional academic lexicon” (223).
“Recent literature on the state has been concerned with two central issues: the extent of state autonomy and the degree of congruity between the state and its environment” (224).
Five characteristics of the statist literature:
- see politics as a problem of rule and control rather than allocation
- see states as actors in and of themselves
- places greater emphasis on institutional constraints, both formal and informal, on individual behavior
- more interested in looking to history to understand politics
- more inclined to see disjunctures and strain within the politics system (225).
“Pure interest group versions of pluralism virtually ignore public actors and institutions. The government is seen as a cash register that totals up and then averages the preferences and political power of societal actors” (227).
“Statist orientations take institutions and political beliefs more seriously. The political universe is not atomistic” (228).
“In sum, the pluralist tradition in
“Moreover, choices made by leading states at a particular point in time influence not only their future range of options, but also the options of later developing states” (241).
“Over time the national state has pushed aside all other forms of political organization” (242).
Huntington, Samuel. “Political Development and Political Decay.” 2003.
“Yet in the fast growing literature on the politics of the developing areas, political institutionalization usually receives scant treatment. Writers on political development emphasize the processes of modernization and the closely related phenomena of social mobilization and increasing political participation” (286).
“Rapid increases in mobilization and participation, the principal political aspects of modernization, undermine political institutions. Rapid modernization, in brief, produces not political development, but political decay” (386).
“Rationalization, integration and democratization thus commonly appear in definitions of political development” (388).
“First the identification of political development with modernization or with factors usually associated with modernization drastically limits the applicability of the concept in both time and space” (389).
“The second problem with many definition of political development is the obverse but also the corollary of the first. On the one hand, development is limited to the characteristics of the modern nation-state” (390).
What is wrong: “The tendency is to think that because modernization is taking place, political development also must be taking place” (391).
“If political development is thought to involve the mobilization of people into politics, account should also be taken of the possibility that political de-development can take place and people can be demobilized out of politics” (392).
“The strength of political organizations and procedures varies with their scope of support and their level of institutionalization” (394).
“If decay of political institutions is a widespread phenomenon in the developing countries and if a major cause of this decay is the high rate of social mobilization, it behooves us, as social scientists, to call a spade a spade and to incorporate these tendencies into any general model of political change which we employ to understand the politics of these areas” (417).
“Organizational strength is needed in southern Asia, the Middle east, Africa and
Ertman, Thomas “Birth of the Leviathan.”
“The European statebuilding experience, the only case of sustained political development comparable in scale and scope to the one unleashed by the recent wave of state formation can cast new light on this question” (1).
“Despite the similarity of the challenges involved, and the relatively homogenous cultural setting in which Europe’s rulers sought to meet them, the durable state structures which emerged by the end of the early modern period were anything but uniform in character” (1).
“The institutions through which government policy was implemented and enforced also varied substantially across these countries” (1).
“Some authors have argued convincingly that war, sometimes in combination with other factors, was ht principal force behind attempts by rulers both to alter political systems and to expand and rationalize state apparatuses in the interest of military competitiveness” (4).
“Ye the theories proposed to exaplin variations in outcome have remained unsatisfactory for a number of reasons. First, this literature has paid too little attention to the role played by different kinds of representative institutions in the failure of triumph of royal plans to introduce absolutism…” (4-5).
“Second, these theories have proved too willing to link one kind of political regime with only one kind of state apparatus – absolutism with bureaucracy and constitutionalism/parliamentarism…” (5).
“In fact, as will be shown, constitutionalism could just as well be associated with bureaucracy and absolutism with nonbureaucratic forms of administration” (5).
“Finally such theories have underplayed the prevalence of dysfunctional, patrimonial institutional arrangements like the sale and traffic in offices within the apparatuses of many early states, and have thus underestimated the substantial difficulties involved in constructing proto-modern bureaucracies in response to geomilitary pressures” (5).
“This book argues that three factors – organization of local government during the first few centuries after state formation; the timing of the onset of sustained geopolitical competition; and the independent influence of strong representative assemblies on administrative and financial institutions – can account for the variation” (6).
“Explaining variations in political regime at the end of the early modern period means accounting for the strength or weakness of particular representative institutions, since it was the powers still held by such institutions…” (19).
“The divergence in the pattern of local government found during the first period of life of those European polities which survived into the 18th century was of immense significance for the future course of European political development. It was this factor which helped determine the type of representative assembly and ultimately the kind of political regime (absolutist or constitutional) that would emerge centuries later within a given state” (25).
North, Douglass and Barry weingast. “Constitutions and Commitment: the Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in 17th Century
“This article focuses on the political factors underpinning economic growth and the development of markets – not simply the rules governing economic exchange, but also the institutions governing how these rules are enforced and how they may be changed” (803).
“A critical political factor is the degree to which the regime or sovereign is committed to or bound by these rules” (803).
“For economic growth to occur the sovereign or government must not merely establish the relevant set of rights, but must make a credible commitment to them” (803).
How to establish commitment:
- rulers showing “responsible behavior”
- being constrained by sets of rules that do not permit leeway for violating commitments
“As parliament represented wealth holders, its increased role markedly reduced the king’s ability to renege. Moreover, the institutional structure that evolved after 1688 did not provide incentives for Parliament to replace the Crown and itself engage in similar ‘irresponsible’ behavior. As a consequence the new institutions produced a marked increase in the security of private rights” (804).
“A critical role of the constitution and other political institutions is to place restrictions on the state or sovereign” (805).
“Successful economic performance, therefore, must be accompanied by institutions that limit economic intervention and allow private rights and markets to prevail in large segments of the economy” (808).
‘The ability of a government to commit to private rights and exchange is thus an essential condition for growth” (808).
“Controlling Crown behavior required the solving of financial problem as well as appropriate constraints on the Crown. So the Glorious Revolution also ushered in a fiscal revolution” (815).
“In exchange for the greater say in government, parliamentary interests agreed to put the government on a sound financial footing, that is, they agreed to provide sufficient tax revenue” (817).
“Our thesis is that the credible commitment by the government to honor its financial agreements was part of a larger commitment to secure private rights” (824).
“[Institutions] were forced often violently upon the Crown” (828).
Mann, Michael. “State, Ancient and Modern.” 1988.
“This essay has a fairly clear overall argument: that the relationship between state and society in large-scale societies changed dramatically with the advent of industrial capitalism” (33).
“I define a society as a network of social interaction at the boundaries of which occur a relative interaction cleavage” (34).
“By large-scale society I indicate a network of social interactions, with cleavage at its boundaries, extending over several hundred miles. Given the unevenness of actual geography, more precision that this would be misplaced” (34).
“Over a specific empirical terrain, I have argued that military organization has had important effects upon economic structure” (68).
“At a definite phase in social development, economic means could not provide this consolidation. They now can do so, and economic imperialism (within of course, a militarily protected perimeter) has largely taken over” (68).
“If in truth these are cases of ‘autonomous political power’ then we must look to military factors – so long neglected by sociologists – for the major part of our explanation, just as we must in the ancient world. This time, however, ‘the problem of the state’ is less that of one hegemonic, militant empire, and more of a system of competing nation-states” (70).
Friedrich and Brzezinski. “Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy.” 1965.
“Totalitarian dictatorships have been labeled with every one of the expressions used to signify older autocracies. They have been called tyrannies, despotisms and absolutisms. Yet all these terms are highly misleading” (3).
“The autocratic regimes of the past were not nearly as thorough as the totalitarian dictatorships of today” (4).
“They did not seek to get hold of the entire man, the human being in his totality, but were satisfied with excluding him from certain spheres and exploiting him more or less mercilessly in others” (4).
“Totalitarian dictatorship may, in a preliminary characterization, be called an autocracy based upon modern technology and mass legitimation” (4).
“In all autocratic regimes, the distinguishing feature is that the ruler is not accountable to anyone else for what he does” (4).
“From this viewpoint, an autocracy is any political system in which the rulers are insufficiently, or not at all, subject to antecedent and enforceable rules of law – enforceable that is, by other authorities who share in the government and who have sufficient power to compel the lawbreaking rulers to submit to the law” (5).
“But the trend was clear: power must be concentrated so as to produce order and peace. It was this doctrine that remained at the core of absolutism in its characteristic monarchical form” (7).
“Let us merely state again that the state was by the sixteenth century a large-scale governmental organization effectively centralized by means of a strictly secular bureaucracy, often implemented by some kind of representative body” (7).
“In summary and conclusion, it might said that autocracy appears to have been the prevailing form og government over long stretches of mankind’s history. It should therefore not occasion any great surprise that it has reappeared in recent times, wherever public order seemed threatened by revolutionary or wherever such movements sought to institutionalize their power” (13).
Westoby, Adam. “Conceptions of Communist States.” 1983.
“An obvious feature of Communist states is the extent to which state and society interpenetrate” (219).
Four conclusions about communist states:
- Conceptions of Communist states reflect, profoundly, the “realist sea-change in political thought which preceded them; all aim, at some level, at empirical explanation. They are seldom free of normative appetites, but unlike classical theories their justifications attach to the shape of methods, and not the very existence, of the state’s sovereign power
- In them recurs the urge, repeatedly frustrated, to single out one or a few aspects – economic or political – as the decisive ones; when other theorists criticize or react against this they often over-emphasize other, equally partial, features.
- From their interplay a certain consensus –across-differences emerges: the interpretation of state and society compels a ‘seamless robe’ approach; conceptions of the one very commonly extend into a general view of the other.
- Paradoxically and in parallel, there also emerges a sense that the typical Communist state has become – from a rational, functional or moral point of view, or some combination of these – superfluous to or parasitic upon the life of society; and perhaps, that this one of the things that the determination and comprehensiveness of its political grip reflects (236).
Kaminski, Bartlomiej. “The Anatomy of the Directive Capacity of the
“The objective of this article is to dissect different parts and mechanisms of state socialism in order to identify their impact on directive capacity of the state” (66).
“The goal is to identify the objective capacity to steer socioeconomic change and development, rather than to demonstrate how the directive capacity of the socialist state is actually used by the elite” (67).
“Directive capacity can be conceived of as the ability of a state to develop and implement policies that are comprehensive in scope, long range, and oriented toward structural change” (67).
“None of the earlier identified conditions of perfect directive capacity is automatically met. The state does not have a perfect knowledge and the ability to create motivations, such that all actors are willing to cooperate even at the expense of their self-interest” (86).
“The domestic structure of state socialism has been described here in terms of the three intertwined principles referring to the fusion of the economy with the state (principle of inclusion), the means of securing social compliance (principle of negative legitimation), and to the interaction between state administration and party apparatus as well as between the state and social groups (principles of bending of the rules” (86).
“Patterns of behavior, mechanisms generating compliance, and so on in state socialism are defined by different theoretical concepts than they are in the societies that have retained the institution of the market” (88).
Shue, Vivienne. “State Power and Social Organization in
“Communism is in disarray around the world. Little wonder then if some influential voices emanating from the capitalist camp have been heard now claiming not just the missile victory and the moral victory, but the economic and the philosophic victories as well” (65).
“Putting it in simple terms, we might propose that a prima facie case could as well be made for thinking that, under certain conditions at least, strong and robust civil associations can ‘go together’ with powerful and resilient states” (66).
“In such a light, the dilemmas of governance in these states would not be conceived primarily in terms of the failures of socialist ideology, or the failures of the command economy, or even the dangers of excessive state control. The difficulties of these regimes would be posed instead as problems of engagement between state and society, problems in the intimate articulation of the relationship between state power and social organization” (67).
“We can be certain that the scope and intensity of associational life have recently greatly expanded in
“Exactly how specific state structures crystallized and their capacities evolved, exactly how the repertoire or organizational forms available within societies shifted over time, and exactly how the scope and nature of contemporary state – society interactions emerged – all these particularities condition future political possibilities” (85).
Jackson, Robert and Carl Rosberg. “Why
“In spite of the weakness of their national governments, none of the Black African states have been destroyed or even significantly changed” (1).
“No territories or people – or even a segment of them – have been taken over by another country. No African state has been divided as a result of internal warfare” (1).
“A definition of the state primarily in terms of means rather than ends – particularly the means of force – emphasizes the empirical rather than the juridical, the de facto rather than the de jure, attributes of statehood” (2).
“By Weber’s definition, a few of Africa’s governments would not qualify as states – at least not all of the time – because they cannot always effectively claim to have a monopoly of force throughout their territorial jurisdictions” (2-3).
“Definitions that give priority to the juridical rather than the empirical attributes of statehood are employed by international legal scholars and institutionally oriented international theorists” (3).
“In some, one cannot explain the persistence of some states by using a concept of the state that does not give sufficient attention to the juridical properties of statehood” (4).
“International organizations have served as ‘post-imperial ordering devices’ for the new African states, in effect freezing them in their inherited colonial jurisdictions and blocking any post-independence movements toward self-determination” (21).
“Membership in the international society provides an opportunity – denied to Black Africa under colonialism – to both influence and take advantage of international rules and ideologies concerning what is desirable and undesirable in the relations of states” (21).
“By enforcing juridical statehood, international society is in some cases also sustaining and perpetuating incompetent and corrupt governments” (22).
Young, Crawford. “The
“Few would dispute the proposition that the African state today is beset with a profound crisis in the political, economic and social spheres” (25).
“The contemporary crisis of the African state has several dimensions. In part it lies in the fraying character of state-civil society relationships” (26).
“A second general dimension to state crisis has been the propensity to overconsumption. In 1967 the average fraction of Gross Domestic Product consumed by the African state was less than 15 percent. By 1982 the figure rose to 30 percent…” (26).
“The problem of state consumption leads directly to the third dimension of the crisis: the anemic rates of development” (27).
“We make no claim that the political legacy of the colonial state can stand as the central source of any explanation. But we are persuaded that deeply embedded in the contemporary state are a number of characteristics and behavioral dispositions which originate in the colonial era” (28).
“In pursuit of our quarry, we begin by introducing the analytical weapons to be used in the hunt: our employment of the concept of state in the colonial setting” (28).
Characteristics of the colonial state:
a. its territoriality was ambiguous
b. sovereignty for the colonial state was exercised by the imperial occupant
c. the colonial state was conceded a derivative territorial personality, but emphatically not a national one
d. legal order in the colonial state was a hybrid construction (35).
e. the colonial state had no distinctive external interests except as accessories of the empire(36).
Callaghy, Thomas. “The State and the Development of Capitalism in
“The two crises of state and economy are clearly linked. As one analyst has asserted, ‘
“The paths that different countries take are determined by the presence and balance of facilitating factors, opportunities and struggles between rulers, emerging classes, status groups, organizations and particularistic forces…” (89).
“Clearly what happens to
“One thing that we must be aware of is what I call the ‘Fault of Analytic Hurry’ – the desire to rush things along, whatever the path, to see things as real before they actually are, to attribute substantive weight to social processes, institutions and actors that do not possess it” (92).
Anderson, Lisa. “The State in the Middle East and
“This essay draws upon both the established literature and current research in suggesting the value of ‘state-focused’ approaches to Middle Eastern politics. Attention to the state does not constitute a full-scale school of thought, particularly in Middle Eastern studies, and the intellectual freedom implicit in the absence of consensus bears the cost of often contradictory hypotheses” (1).
“Variations in the capacities of the existing states of the Middle East today reflect the history of state formation and bureaucratic development in the region over the last century and a half” (3).
- the countries of the region came to independence with widely varying levels of administrative strength and competence” (6).
- The boundaries of the new states were rarely congruent with indigenous social formations or economic systems
- The processes of state formation and bureaucratic development did not benefit or damage all social groups equally
- The development of state capacities in the
Middle Eastwas less a reaction to domestic political competition and economic change than a response to international development: at the outset, the challenge posed by growing European power and prosperity, and the reality of European rule
“By and large the
“The historical significance of corporate, lineage, and tribal groups in exercising political authority alongside – and sometimes within – centralized bureaucratic administrations presents a starting point for state formation markedly different from that in Europe” (14).
“Similarly the role of the state elites as initiators of much of the social transformation and state formation during the last century and a half is in striking contrast to the relative passivity of the European states during the industrial revolution” (14).
“Indeed, the assumption that state goals are determined by societal actors which use the state either as an instrument of domination or as an arena of competition neglects the limitations imposed by state capacity” (14).
“The weakness of the extractive and administrative capacities of many Middle eastern states is also reflected in the ambiguities of their relations with the domestic private sector” (15).
Smith, Anthony. “State-Making and Nation-Building”
“If we mean by the term nation-state that the boundaries of the state’s territories and those of a homogenous ethnic community are coextensive, and that all the inhabitants of a state possess an identical cultures, then we will not be able to muster more than about 10 percent of existing states…” (229).
“The fact remains, and it is a central one to the whole modern era since the French revolution that the majority and educated men and women are committed to nationalism even if only tacitly through exclusion and self-differentiation” (230).
“It may be that some of those assumptions were actually present even before nationalism made them explicit, but there is certainly no possibility of returning to a pre-nationalist era” (230).
“But perhaps the most trenchant critique of communications theory comes from one who has adopted the basic framework of ‘modernization.’ Ernest Gellner argues that it is nationalism that invents nations where they do not exists, and that the reason for nationalism’s ubiquity lies in the uneven development of modernization and industrialization” (233).
“The underlying problem with all the above accounts is that the state has been seen simply as a place or arena in which other ‘real’ forces and processes are locked in combat. But the state is really far more than an arena. It does involve territory, but it cannot be simply reduced to a location” (235).
Two problems with earlier approaches:
“The first is that , quite simply, there are more patterns of nation-formation than can be contained in the activist approach” (241).
“The second is that a major problem, overlooked in these approaches, is the prior formation of ethnic communities which, in varying degrees, influence and condition the success of attempts to make states and build nations” (241).
“The fact that there are more patterns and routes of state-and-nation-formation than previous accounts admit suggests in itself a need to amend the ‘activist’ approach, to give more prominence to the order or sequence of processes involved” (243).
“The history-less are destiny-less, and this becomes the central dilemma of state-making and nation-building today” (244).
“For the central difficulty of ‘nation-building’ in much of Africa and Asia is the lack of any shared historical mythology and memory on which state elites can set about ‘building’ the nation. The ‘nation’ is not, as we see, built up only through the provision of ‘infrastructures’ and institutions as nation-building theories assumed; but from the central fund of culture and symbolism and mythology provided by shared historical experiences” (258).
“As these polyethnic casemake clear, the absence of an ethnic core around which state elites can unite populations and build nations makes even the persistence and unity of the state uncertain” (262).
Slezkine, Yuri. “The
“Lenin’s NEP-time policy of compensatory nation-building was a spectatculraly successful attempt at a state-sponsored conflation of language, “cultura,” territory and quota-fed bureaucracy” (414).
“As far as both Lenin and Stalin were concerned, this meant that nations had rights: “A nation can organize its life as it sees fit. It has the right to organize its life on the basis of autonomy” (416).
“But all nations – indeed all nationalities no matter how backward – were equal because they were equally sovereign, that is, because they all had the same rights” (416).
“But why set up ethno-territorial autonomies under socialism if most socialists agreed that federalism was a ‘philistine ideal’, that ‘national culture’ was a bourgeois fiction and that assimilation was a progressive process that substituted a ‘mobile proletarian’ for the ‘obtuse’ savage…?” (417).
“They needed native languages, native subjects and native teachers in order to polemicize with their own bourgeoisie to spread anticlerical and ant bourgeoisie among their own peasantry…” (418).
“Another reason for Lenin’s and Stalin’s early defense of nationalism was the distintion that they drew between oppressor-nationalism and oppressed-nation nationalism” (418).
“The more rights and opportunities a national minority would enjoy, the more trust it would have in the proletarians of the former oppressor nation” (419).
“According to Lenin’s paradox, the surest way to unity in content was diversity in form” (420).
Chaudhry, Kiren Aziz. “The Myths of the Market and the Common Hisotry of Late Developers.” 1993.
‘The pervasive role of the state in developing countries is a truism: indeed, development economics was founded on the belief that the peculiar nature of market failures in late developers portended a large role for the state” (245).
“Governmental intervention in planning, financing, and managing industrialization was a special institutional response to economic backwardness” (245).
“The essay critically examines key aspects of the new orthodoxy in development economics. It focuses on two points. First, the neoliberal-liberal construct rests on an abstract, stylized view of what market economies are an where they come from” (247).
“At base, government ownership is more often a response to the administrative weakness of the state in developing countries rather than a reaction to private sector’s inability to provide the skills and capital necessary for bulky investments” (247).
“In contrast to neoliberal ascendancy, which discounts the central role of the state in creating markets, I argue that state and market building are mutually dependent and potentially conflictual processes, shaped by historically constituted domestic and international factors” (247).
“The assumption that markets are ‘neutral’ and ‘natural’ obscures the political choices that are embedded in the institutions that govern the market” (247).
“Moreover, the neoliberal perspective does not account for the special obstacles facing late developers in trying to create market economies in a period of growing international economic interdependence” (248).
“It is perhaps necessary to begin by restating the most basic tenet of the institutional economists: functioning national markets cannot exist without legal, administrative, and regulatory institutions maintained by the state” (249).
“Taking the institutional underpinnings of market economies seriously means that a host of complex historically constituted national and international factors must be brought to bear on our appreciation of the constraints faced by liberalizing late developers today” (265).
“In the wake of the experiment, the notion that economics is a universal, transportable science separable from a historically grounded political and social life is itself being critically reviewed” (266).
Sachs, Jeffrey. “
“Eastern countries must reject any lingering ideas about a third way, such as chimerical market socialism based on public ownership or worker self-management, and go straight for a Western-style market economy” (235).
“So the reforms under communism were necessarily self-limiting, and thereby self-defeating. But after the democratic revolution of 1989, eastern Europe can move beyond the failed market socialism and create a real market economy with a large private sector and free trade” (237).
Four critical notions:
- Governments should strive to create a set of marker-clearing relative prices. Price controls should be ended, subsidies reduced or eliminated, and the economy opened wide to international trade
- Eliminate restrictions on private economic activity
- Third and hardest part is to discipline state enterprises
- The fourth need is to establish price stability, or to maintain it
Wade, Robert. “Governing the Market: Economic Theory and the Role of Government in East Asian Industrialization” 1990.
“I shall argue that the role of government has gone well beyond the practice of Anglo-American economies and the principles of neoclassical economic, while at the same time resource allocation has occurred primarily through vigorously functioning markets” (6).
“All three countries have in common an intense and almost unequivocal commitment on the part of government to build up the international competitiveness of domestic industry – and thereby eventually to raise living standards” (7).
“The corporatist and authoritarian political arrangements of
- use the national policies to promote industrial investment within the national boundaries, and to channel more of this investment into industries whose growth is important for the economy’s future growth
- use protection to help create an internationally competitive set of industries
- if the wider strategy calls for heavy reliance on trade, give high priority to export promotion policies
- welcome multinational companies, but direct them toward exports
- promote a bank-based financial system under close government control
- carry out trade and financial liberalization gradually, in line with certain sequence of steps
- establish a pilot agency or economic general staff within the central bureaucracy whose policy heartland is the industrial and trade profile of the economy and its future growth path
- develop effective institutions of political authority before the system is democratized
- develop corporatist institutions as or before the system is democratized
“My argument is that a necessary but not sufficient condition for more rapid industrialization is a state deployment of a range of industrial promotion policies, including ones to intensify the growth of selected industries within the national territory” (370).
“Civil society was seen as the opposite of despotism, a space in which social groups could exist and move – something which exemplified and would ensure softer, more tolerable conditions of existence” (1).
“For one thing, communism did not fall, as many expected and some still believe, because of pressure from below, that is, from the forces of civil society…” (1).
“The principal reason for the argument taking this route is that civil society is complicated, most notably in being at one and the same time a social value and a set of social institutions” (2).
“One generalization that can be made about civil society – a generalization, it should be stressed, that goes against the implicit and optimistic determinismof most scholars’ social evolutionary viewpoints – is that the value has weak or incomplete sociological moorings” (3).
“The deepest roots of civil society in Europe result from the way in which the removal of the centralized authority of
“The best known enemy of civil society is despotism, whose greatest analysts are surely Montesquieu and Tocqueville” (7).
“Many of the Enlightenment thinkers who championed the idea of civil society, in fact if not always in name, were clearly opposed to the tradition of civic virtue, however, much they admired some of its moral qualities” (10).
“The third enemy of civil society is one form of nationalism. By this is meant those varied practices – mass population transfers, forced integration, ethnic cleansing, genocide – by means of which complete social homogeneity is created” (12).
“A final enemy of civil society is cultural. The desire to balance the state and to respect individualism is not inscribed in the historic process, an acorn somehow ready in every culture to turn into an oak tree” (14).
“More generally, a country is only strong when an orderly civil society works with the state” (23).
“It is well worth moving away from this definition towards endorsing it. The best way to start doing so is to stress that the concept of civil society is not equivalent, as some would have it, to more familiar and valued notions” (26).
Berman, Sheri. “Civil Society and the Collapse of the
“Had German civil society been weaker, the Nazis would never have been able to capture so many citizens for their cause or eviscerate their opponents so swiftly” (402).
“A striking implication of this analysis is that a flourishing civil society does not necessarily bode well for the prospects of liberal democracy” (402).
“For civil society to have the beneficial effects neo-Tocquevilleans posit, the political context has to be right: absent strong and responsive political institutions, an increasingly active civil society may serve to undermine, rather than strengthen, a political regime” (402).
“The weakness of the bourgeois parties and national political structures drove many citizens looking for succor and support into civil society organizations, which were organized primarily along group lines rather than across them” (414).
“German civil society was rich and extensive during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and this nation of joiners should accordingly have provided fertile soil for a successful democratic experiment. Instead, it succumbed to totalitarianism” (424).
Tong, Yanqi. “State, Society and Political Change in
“The number, capacities, orientations, and demands of the social groups that comprise civil society all develop, to a large extent, through a process of interaction with the structures and activities of the state” (333).
“A civil society can be defined as the self-organization of society through the creation of autonomous, voluntary, nongovernmental organizations such as economic enterprises, religious and cultural organizations, occupational and professional associations, independent news media and political organizations” (333).
“The existence of an autonomous social, economic, and cultural organizations may imply the existence of a civil society, but not necessarily the existence of a specifically political society, which exists only if voluntary associations and social movements emerge to influence state decisions…” (334).
“In this analysis, I will use the term ‘noncritical realm’ to refer to the existence of a civil society and a managerial public sphere and the term ‘critical realm’ to refer to the combination of a political society and a political public sphere” (334).
“Given the totalitarian tendencies of state socialist systems, an autonomous civil society rarely emerges in a bottom-up fashion, except when the regime is in serious crisis. Instead, its emergence is often the result of top-down efforts, that is, through tolerance, encouragement, or sponsorship by state policies or by members of the existing regime” (334).
“Using the cases of China and Hungary, this paper argues that economic reform and political liberalization initiated by a reformist leadership in the Communist Party promoted the growth of a noncritical realm, although its autonomy and capacities were restrained by state policies” (335).
“The emergence of a critical realm requires a complex interaction between state and society, involving restraint and compromise on both sides and especially the creation of a supportive coalition between the reformist factions in the party leadership and the more responsible and moderate elements of political opposition” (335).
“The cooperative interactions between a more flexible political establishment and a more restrained protest movement in Hungary contributed to the construction of a more solid critical realm and the final emergence of a fully democratic system” (349).
Rose-Ackerman, Susan. “Corruption and Government: Causes, Consequences and Reform.” 1999.
“The nature of corruption depends not just on the organization of government but also on the organization and power of private actors. The critical issue is whether either the government of the private sector has monopoly power in dealing with the other” (114).
“I distinguish between kleptocracies where corruption is organized at the tope of government and other states where bribery is the province of a large number of low-level officials” (114).
“In short the strong kleptocrat runs a brutal but efficient state limited only by his own inability to make credible commitments. The weak kleptocrat runs an intrusive and inefficient state organized to extract bribes from the population and the business community” (119).
“Corrupt low-level officials introduce inefficiencies in the form of additional delays and red tape and cross-agency interference. As a result, national income net of the ruler’s rake-off will be lower than with an efficient bureaucracy…” (121).
“One cannot, for instance, claim with confidence that corruption at the top is less harmful than low-level corruption. The impact of corruption depends upon the strength and lack of scruples of the private firms and individuals that pay bribes” (126).
Levi, Margaret. “Of Rule and Revenue.”
“Rules maximize revenue to the state, but not as they please” (10).
“Rulers are predatory in that they always try to set terms of trade that maximize their personal objectives, which, I argue, require them to maximize state revenues” (10).
“Policies are the outcome of an exchange between the ruler and the various groups who compose the polity, Policies are a function of rulers’ terms of trade” (11).
“Introducing predatory rulers into this model fundamentally alters the findings. First, it adds an additional competitor which makes the bargaining game more complex. Second, as rulers gain power in the bargaining over policy, the effect will likely be an increase in the use of government for noneconomic purposes and an increase in governmental regulations” (15).
“The second alternative to the model of predatory rule is the analysis of heads of government as agents. In this view they are embedded in a structure that limits their options to such a degree that is nonsensical to label them rulers’ (15).
“The major implication of the theory of predatory rule is that rulers will devise and formalize structures that increase their bargaining power, reduce their transaction costs, and lower their discount rates so as to better capture gains from exchanges of politics” (16).
“Variations in state policies over time and across countries are a consequence of variation in rulers’ relative bargaining power, transaction costs, and discount rates” (38).
“The theory of predatory rule differs from the classical Marxist approach in its focus on rulers rather than on the dominant economic class. It differs from the new state-centered structuralism in its emphasis on deductive theory, which simplifies political, economic and social complexity as a means for better understanding state organization and policies. It differs from public choice and neoclassical economists in its recognition of power and the unequal distribution of power” (38).
Darden, Keith. “Graft and Governance: Corruption as an Informal Mechanism of State Control.” 2002.
“Focusing specifically of the extent to which subordinate officials comply with the directives of state leaders, I argue that in some circumstances, bribery and graft enhance rather than erode state capacity” (1).
“In particular, graft, combined with systematic surveillance, blackmail and the selective enforcement of laws, is a means employed by state leaders to exert control over their subordinates and to expand their authority into areas where its exercise is formally prohibited” (1).
“The main contemporary approaches to the study of corruption draw their insights from agency theories in economics and treat corruption as a failure to resolve a principal-agent problem…”
“Somewhat less obviously, both approaches rest on a critical but implicit, assumption: that the contractual relationship between principal and agent is the relationship between them defined by formal institutions and the law” (4).
“I have argued that the permission to engage in graft may serve as a means through which state leaders buy compliance from subordinate officials – an informal contract – and also provides the basis for control through systematic blackmail and the threat of selective enforcement of the law” (19).
“The findings presented here suggest that an attention to the operation of informal institutions is imperative if we are to develop useful theoretical claims about the relationship between graft and governance” (20).
Shefter, Martin. “Political Parties and the State.” 1994.
“These theories of patronage are deficient in a number of respects. In the first place, they are overly narrow in focus: they fail to recognize that the issue of patronage has a bearing upon the interests of groups besides ordinary voters and party politicians, and that these groups may be in a position to influence, or place constraints upon, the strategies parties adopt” (21).
“They generally fail to recognize that the interests various groups acquire and the alliances they form during conflicts over patronage in the predemocratic era can persist into the era of mass suffrage, and that the outcome of these earlier struggles can have enduring consequences for the strength of the contending forces in later struggles over party patronage” (22).
“In arguing that internally mobilized parties will avoid the use of patronage in nations where either an absolutist or a progressive coalition emerged prior to the mobilization of the masses into politics, and that such parties will be patronage oriented where the mobilization of the masses into politics antedated the formation of either one of these coalitions…” (56).
Holmes, Stephen. “What
“Limited government, capable of repressing force and fraud, turns out to be mind-bogglingly difficult to erect in a chaotic setting” (3).
“By illustrating vividly the dependence of individual liberty on state power of a certain kind, the new Russia should help us focus more clearly on how authority enhances freedom in our own system” (4).
“The contemplation of weak-state capitalism should make plain the hopeless limitations of a libertarian conception of ‘independence’” (6).
“At the basis of a liberal economy lies the willingness of people to rely on each other’s word. Trust, like thrift and industriousness, is a psychological attitude with roots outside the legal order” (6).
“The idea that autonomous individuals can enjoy their private liberties if they are simply left unpestered by the public power dissolves before the disturbing realities of the new
Kohli, Atul. “Centralization and Powerlessness:
“During the 1970s and 1980s a recurring pattern characterized political change in India; Control over government decisions tended to centralize in leaders who rules by virtue of personal popularity, who found it difficult to transform their personal power into a problem-solving political resource” (89).
“It is argued that such tendencies toward centralization and powerlessness are generated by the near absence of systematic authority links between the state’s apex and the vast social periphery” (89).
“One insight of possible general relevance is that the spread of democratic politics in preindustrial societies undermines domination between traditional superiors and inferiors. As this happens, struggles of domination and opposition emerge from localized, social arenas and enter the national political sphere” (90).
“The issues raised here are similar to some of the earlier concerns of Samuel Huntington insofar as the problem of centralization and powerlessness is an integral aspect of the imbalance between institutional development and mobilized demands” (90).
“The main condition that helps explain the tendency toward centralization and powerlessness in
“The spread of democracy has eroded patterns of traditional domination in the social structure” (105).
“One of the few alternatives for creating a coherent political center in a fragmented polity is leaders with personal appeal” (105).
“State and society condition each other continuously, and patterns of political change must be analyzed by focusing on state-society interaction” (106).
Skocpol and Amenta. “State and Social Policies.” 1986.
“In turn, social policies, once enacted and implemented themselves, transform politics. Consequently, the study over time of ‘policy feedbacks’ has become one of the most fruitful current areas of research on state and social policies” (131).
“Beyond such examinations of state structures and capacities, comparative and historical scholars have also demonstrated that ‘state building’ and the varying institutional structures of states affect social policymaking over the long run via their impact on political parties…” (149).
Policy feedbacks: the effects of social policies on politics
Esping-Anderson, Gosta. “The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism.” 1989.
“The social-democratic model, then, is father to one of the leading hypotheses of contemporary welfare-state debate: parliamentary class-mobilization is a means for the realization of the socialist ideals of equality, justice, freedom and solidarity” (12).
“We have noted that the case for a class-mobilization thesis flows from social democratic political economy. It differs from structuralist and institutional analyses in its emphasis on the social classes as the main agents of change and in its argument that the balance of class power determines distributional outcomes” (16).
“As we have noted, there is absolutely no compelling reason to believe that workers will automatically and naturally forge a socialist class identity…” (29).
“The political leanings of the new middle classes have, indeed, been decisive for welfare-state consolidation” (31).
“We have presented here an alternative to a simple class-mobilization theory of welfare state development” (32).
“The risks of welfare-state backlash depend not on spending but on the class character of welfare states’ (33).
Jessop, Bob. “State Theory: Putting the
“For socialists it is clearly paradoxical that an economic system based on the exploitation of the laboring mass by the capitalist minority should be combined with a political system which apparently gives sovereign powers to the numerical majority and their elected spokesmen” (170).
“Liberals and conservatives would also take pleasure in telling us that politics in these societies is not organized along class lines in the way that socialists often suggest” (172).
“In this context liberals and conservatives would also argue that the state is not an instrument of class rule but serves instead to maintain the public interest in domestic affairs and to promote the national interest in international affairs” (173).
For liberals and conservatives: “The problems of the state are seen as flowing from inadequacies in the system of democratic accountability and.or the pressures arising from unrealistic popular expectations” (174).
“Thus socialists must explain why the democratic form of government is possible under capitalism and must also show why such democratic government is limited in form and in practice by the existence of capitalism. In particular we should emphasize that the formal freedoms and rights essential for an effective system of popular control are insufficiently developed and are further weakened by the lack of social and economic conditions which would enable the majority of citizens to make good use of these freedoms and rights” (189).
Offe, Claus. “Advanced Capitalism and the Welfare State.” 1972.
“If Europeans and Americans share anything at all, it is a profound feeling if their own relative failure and great admiration for what is going on across the
“Rather than join the discussion of what the national differences are on both sides of the
Four views of the welfare state:
- the welfare state bears no resemblance to what Marxist theorists would call a revolutionary process, that is, basic structural change
- although the term welfare connotes a paternalistic solicitude by the state in behalf of the lower classes, corporate business enterprise derive far greater proportionate benefits
- the welfare state cannot deal with primary human needs directly; it can only attempt to compensate for the new problems which are created in the wake of industrial growth
- the development of the welfare state took place in relative independence from political and ideological debate
“The future development of the welfare state will depend on its capability to absorb this segment of the population into social and economic roles, that is, make them participants in society” (488).
“The only way this group can participate in our society legitimately is the productive within the institutional framework of the labor market and capitalist industry – a solution which neither the economy alone nor the educational system seems to be able to provide” (488).