Weeks+8-9 - The State'The purpose of the State is always the same to limit Contents the individual to tame him to subordinate him to What is the state

Weeks+8-9 - The State'The purpose of the State is always...

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The State
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'The purpose of the State is always the same: to limit the individual, to tame him, to subordinate him, to subjugate him.' M AX S TIRNER The Ego and His Own (1845) The shadow of the state falls upon almost every human activity. From education to economic management, from social welfare to sanitation, and from domestic order to external defence, the state shapes and controls, and where it does not shape or control it regulates, supervises, authorises or proscribes. Even those aspects of life usually thought of as personal or private (marriage, divorce, abortion, religious worship and so on) are ultimately subject to the authority of the state. It is not surprising, therefore, that politics is often understood as the study of the state, the analysis of its institutional organisations, the evaluation of its impact on society, and so on. Ideological debate and party politics, certainly, tend to revolve around the proper function or role of the state: what should be done by the state and what should be left to private individuals and associations? The nature of state power has thus become one of the central concerns of political analysis. This debate (the so-called 'state debate') touches on some of the deepest and most abiding divisions in political theory. The key issues discussed in this chapter are as follows: Key issues ? What is the state, and how can it be distinguished from government? ? How has state power been analysed and explained? ? Is the state a force for good or a force for evil? ? What roles have been assigned to the state? How have responsibilities been apportioned between the state and civil society? ? Is the modern state under threat, and, if so, how are its powers being usurped? Contents What is the state? Rival theories of the state The pluralist state The capitalist state The leviathan state The patriarchal state The role of the state Minimal states Developmental states Social-democratic states Collectivised states Totalitarian states The twilight of the state? Summary/Questions for discussion/Further reading 8 4 5 • THE STA TE
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Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) German philosopher. Hegel was the founder of modern idealism and developed the notion that consciousness and material objects are in fact unified. In Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), he sought to develop a rational system that would substitute for traditional Christianity by interpreting the entire process of human history, and indeed the universe itself, in terms of the progress of absolute Mind towards self- realisation. In his view, history is, in essence, a march of the human spirit towards a determinant endpoint. His major political work, Philosophy of Right (1821), portrayed the state as an ethical ideal and the highest expression of human freedom. Hegel's work had considerable impact upon Marx and other so- called 'young Hegelians', and it helped to shape the development of both liberal and fascist thought.
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What is the state?
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