♥Political Ideas and Ideologies Unit-11 Understanding the State

♥Political Ideas and Ideologies Unit-11 Understanding the State

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5 State, Civil Society and Community UNIT 11 MEANING AND NATURE OF THE STATE Structure 11.0 Objectives 11.1 Introduction 11.2 The State and its Derivations 11.3 Meaning and Definition of the State 11.3.1 Elements of the State 11.3.2 Distinction Between the State and Other Associations 11.3.3 Is this Distinction Real? 11.4 Nature of the State: Different Theories 11.4.1 The Liberal Theory 11.4.2 The Marxist Theory 11.4.3 The Gandhian Theory 11.5 Let Us Sum Up 11.6 Some Useful References 11.7 Answers to Check Your Progress Exercises 11.0 OBJECTIVES This unit deals with the greatest of all human association, viz. the state, which is the main concern of political science. There is such a great diversity in the uses of the word ‘state’ that it creates confusion. Thus, an attempt has been made to elucidate the basic features and tenets of the state in comparison to the synonyms of the state like nation, country, society and government. After reading this unit, you should be able to: Understand the meaning and derivations of the term state and know its basic characteristics; Differentiate the state from its various synonyms; and Understand the major theoretical framework about the nature of state. 11.1 INTRODUCTION As mentioned before, one of the ways of studying political science is to study the state in all its varied manifestations. But the word state has often been used indiscriminately to express a general tendency or an idea like the “state” of a man’s health, of his mind or of his economic conditions. In political science too, it has been used in different shades; as a synonym of government, federation or its constituent units. So, what ‘is’ the state, does it promote progress or restrain it, how much powers should the state have and in what spheres of human activity, how is it different from other existing institutions and what is the exact explanation about the nature of state? These questions have been the concern of political philosophers since the days of ancient Athens; however, conscious efforts to formulate principles concerning the state of political theory began in the western world, along with the ancient Greeks. Thus, it becomes imperative to understand the concept as a basic theme of the discipline.
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6 Understanding the State 11.2 THE STATE AND ITS DERIVATIONS As has been stated, one aspect of political science is to deal with the state, the highest of all human associations. The Greeks used the word “polis” for which the word city-states corresponds most closely to the English term ‘Civitas’, which also means the same along with the notion of ‘public welfare’. The Teutons employed the term ‘status’ which forms only a part of the phrase. The modern term ‘state’ has been derived from the word “status” earlier employed by the Teutons. It was Niccolo Machiavelli who first used the term “state” in political science. Thus, it becomes very clear that the term state did not become very popular until the sixteenth century. The
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This note was uploaded on 03/13/2012 for the course IR 101 taught by Professor Harfancoofers during the Spring '12 term at Sunway University College.

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♥Political Ideas and Ideologies Unit-11 Understanding the State

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