The Modern State

The Modern State

The Modern State

The Modern State

Synopsis

The new edition of this well-established and highly regarded textbook continues to provide the clearest and most comprehensive introduction to the modern state. It examines the state from its historical origins at the birth of modernity to its current jeopardized position in the globalized politics of the 21st century. Subjects covered include: * the nation-state in its historical context * state and economy * states and societies * states and citizens * states within the international system * 'rogue' and failed states.

Excerpt

That academic division of labour which once (and briefly) split the social sciences into the discrete study of the state (political science), economy (economics) and society (sociology) is breaking down. Of course, such a division was never watertight. It is absent from most classical political theory and from the founding texts of both classical political economy and the sociological tradition. At a more mundane level, students of social policy, for example, have long had to consider the ways in which state, economy and society interact. Increasingly, students of sociology are required to understand the basic laws of motion of the state, just as students of politics and economics are required to place political and economic institutions in their appropriate social context. With these old lines of intellectual demarcation breaking down, it is now widely recognized that, in most developed societies, the state has probably been the single most important social, economic and political force.

Ironically, this renewal of interest in the analysis of the state has coincided with a very widespread decline in popular and intellectual faith in its competence and, for some, the belief that we are witnessing the 'twilight of the state'. Critics from both right and left have increasingly condemned the state as inefficient, ineffective and despotic. Meanwhile, commentators from a very diverse range of political positions have encouraged us to believe that the state is an increasingly archaic form, yielding to markets or global networks or simply being swept up and away in a coming clash of civilizations. Yet, for all this critical interest, the very basic task of establishing what we mean by 'the state' remains unresolved. Debates about the 'proper' nature of the state have raised some of the most important and difficult problems in the whole of the social sciences: the relationship between value judgements (the normative) and matters of fact (the empirical), between internal (endogenous) and external (exogenous) explanations of societal development, between contingency and determination, between generalizing and individualizing methodologies. But in all these areas, too, it seems as if there are many more questions than answers. Indeed, at times our sense of the importance of the state and its contemporary problems appears to be matched only by a pervasive frustration at its sheer ungraspability.

Some of the questions that surround the state are certainly difficult. After all, the finest minds that have devoted themselves to these questions over two millennia have failed to generate any totally persuasive answers. Yet it is hardly to be doubted

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