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Worksheet 9 - Worksheet 9 Session 9 Theories of the State 1...

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Worksheet 9: Session 9: Theories of the State 1. The What: What is this session on? Last time we focused on different conceptions of the origins of the state as we know it today. As you saw last time, there are a lot of disagreements on what constituted the birth of the state. Was the state created because it followed an attempt by powerful people to monopolize their hold on power and violence? Was it created because individuals decided they wanted to enter into a contract or compact with each other to give up power to a higher sovereign or supreme power? Or was it created because it was the result of a natural and organic process through which people who happened to identify with each other through language, culture, ethnicity, race, et. al. (thus seeing themselves as a separate nation ) transformed themselves into a state, that was wrapped inside a set of borders? Just like the conceptions of the origins of the state are so different, so are conceptions about the current “character and appropriate activities” (p. 7) of the state. In other words, different people have different theories on how the state is (character) and should be (appropriate activities). This session introduces you to three of the most dominant theories within mainstream political science, namely pluralism, marxism and statism/elitism.
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