Academic journal article Anarchist Studies

The Concealment of the State

Academic journal article Anarchist Studies

The Concealment of the State

Article excerpt

Jason Royce Lindsey, The Concealment of the State London: Bloomsbury, 2013, 182+xpp; ISBN: 978-1-441102-06-5.

The Concealment of the State discusses what it conceives to be the dominant ideological position of the contemporary developed states: their concealment. Jason Royce Lindsey addresses in the six chapters of this book a number of contemporary issues regarding the role of the state within a complex, contemporary, global, social reality. The relation- ship of the state with the free market, technological advances, especially in techniques of surveillance, as well as the relationship of the contemporary state with its citizens are the main issues that Lindsey examines. The author also makes a strategic use of the anarchist critique of the state, mostly drawn from the writings of Peter Kropotkin, to support his argument. In general, Lindsey's work is an interesting attempt to shed light on what has increasingly become a grey area in world politics. However, due to the heavy reliance on examples drawn from the American reality the title The Concealment of the American State would be more accurate.

Lindsey's main argument is that the socio-political reality which resulted from the end of the Cold War created the need for modern states to reinvent themselves in order to maintain their sovereignty and their role as the main political institutions. Thus, the new type of state that arose, the 'postmodern state', as Lindsey dubs it, is one that conceals itself. This way, the author argues, contrary to what most people think, the state maintains its sovereignty in the postmodern world and even expands its dominance within the sphere of political life. The 'ideological turn', as the author characterises it, of concealing the state's agency, serves as a means to justify the state. Through the concealment of its agency the state is able to maintain its existence unchallenged as it presents itself as being incapable of controlling or constraining globalisation or the free market, while creating an illusion of freedom and autonomy for its citizens. …

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