The Oxford Handbook of Political Institutions
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The Oxford Handbook of Political Institutions


DisciplinaCiências Políticas e Teoria do Estado622 materiais7.849 seguidores
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actions and
whose succession deWnes diVerent types of state, for example, liberal state,
welfare state, competition state. And, fourth, conWgurational analyses explore
the distinctive character of state\u2013civil society relations and seek to locate state
formation within wider historical developments. Eisenstadt\u2019s (1963) work on the
rise and fall of bureaucratic empires, Elias\u2019s (1982) work on the state and
civilization, and Rokkan\u2019s (1999) work on European state formation over the
last 400\u2013500 years are exemplary here.
3 Marxist Approaches to the State
.........................................................................................................................................................................................
Marx\u2019s and Engels\u2019 work on the state comprises diverse philosophical, theoretical,
journalistic, partisan, ad hominem, or purely ad hoc comments. This is reXected in
state and state-building 115
the weaknesses of later Marxist state theories, both analytically and practically, and
has prompted many attempts to complete the Marxist theory of the state based
on selective interpretations of these writings. There were two main axes around
which these views moved. Epiphenomenalist accounts mainly interpreted state
forms and functions as more or less direct reXections of underlying economic
structures and interests. These views were sometimes modiWed to take account of
the changing stages of capitalism and the relative stability or crisis-prone nature
of capitalism. Instrumentalist accounts treated the state as a simple vehicle for
political class rule, moving as directed by those in charge. For some tendencies
and organizations (notably in the social democratic movement) instrumentalism
could justify a parliamentary democratic road to socialism based on the electoral
conquest of power, state planning, or nationalization of leading industrial sec-
tors. Others argued that parliamentary democracy was essentially bourgeois and
that extra-parliamentary mobilization and a new form of state were crucial to
make and consolidate a proletarian revolution. Frankfurt School critical theorists
examined the interwar trends towards a strong, bureaucratic state\u2014whether
authoritarian or totalitarian in form. They argued that this corresponded to
the development of organized or state capitalism, relied increasingly on the
mass media for its ideological power, and had integrated the trade union
movement as a political support or else smashed it as part of the consolidation
of totalitarian rule.
Marxist interest revived in the 1960s and 1970s in response to the apparent ability
of the Keynesian welfare national state to manage the postwar economy in
advanced capitalist societies and the alleged \u2018\u2018end of ideology\u2019\u2019 that accompanied
postwar economic growth. Marxists initially sought to prove that, notwithstanding
the postwar boom, contemporary states could not really suspend capital\u2019s contra-
dictions and crisis-tendencies and that the state remained a key factor in class
domination.
The relative autonomy of the state was much debated in the 1970s and 1980s.
Essentially this topic concerned the relative freedom of the state (or, better, state
managers) to pursue policies that conXicted with the immediate interests of the
dominant economic class(es) without becoming so autonomous that they could
undermine their long-term interests too. This was one of the key themes in the
notoriously diYcult Miliband\u2013Poulantzas debate in the 1970s between an alleged
instrumentalist and a purported determinist, respectively. This controversy
generated much heat but little light because it was based as much on diVerent
presentational strategies as it was on real theoretical diVerences. Thus Miliband\u2019s
(1969) work began by analyzing the social origins and current interests of
economic and political elites and then proceeded to analyze more fundamental
features of actually existing states in a capitalist society and the constraints on its
autonomy. Poulantzas (1973) began with the overall institutional framework of
capitalist societies, deWned the ideal-typical capitalist type of state (a constitutional
116 bob jessop
democratic state based on the rule of law), then explored the typical forms
of political class struggle in bourgeois democracies (concerned with winning
active consent for a national-popular project), and concluded with an analysis
of the relative autonomy of state managers. Whilst not fully abandoning
his earlier approach, Poulantzas later argued that the state is a social relation
(see above).
The best work in this period formulated two key insights with a far wider
relevance. First, some Marxists explored how the typical form of the capitalist
state actually caused problems rather than guaranteed its overall functionality for
capital accumulation and political class domination. For the state\u2019s institutional
separation from the market economy, a separation that was regarded as a necessary
and deWning feature of capitalist societies, results in the dominance of diVerent
(and potentially contradictory) institutional logics and modes of calculation in
state and economy. There is no certainty that political outcomes will serve the
needs of capital\u2014even if (and, indeed, precisely because) the state is operationally
autonomous and subject to politically-mediated constraints and pressures. This
conclusion fuelled work on the structural contradictions, strategic dilemmas, and
historically conditioned development of speciWc state forms. It also prompted
interest in the complex interplay of social struggles and institutions. And, second,
as noted above, Marxist theorists began to analyze state power as a complex social
relation. This involved studies of diVerent states\u2019 structural selectivity and the
factors that shaped their strategic capacities. Attention was paid to the variability
of these capacities, their organization and exercise, and their diVerential impact on
the state power and states\u2019 capacities to project power into social realms well
beyond their own institutional boundaries. As with the Wrst set of insights, this
also led to more complex studies of struggles, institutions, and political capacities
(see Barrow 1993; Jessop 2001).
4 State-centered Theories
.........................................................................................................................................................................................
The Xourishing of Marxist state theories in the 1970s prompted a
counter-movement in the 1980s to \u2018\u2018bring the state back in\u2019\u2019 as a critical explanatory
variable in social analysis. This approach was especially popular in the USA and
claimed that the dominant postwar approaches were too \u2018\u2018society-centered\u2019\u2019 be-
cause they explained the state\u2019s form, functions, and impact in terms of factors
rooted in the organization, needs, or interests of society. Marxism was accused of
economic reductionism for its emphasis on base-superstructure relations and class
state and state-building 117
struggle; pluralism was charged with limiting its account of competition for state
power to interest groups and movements rooted in civil society and ignoring the
distinctive role and interests of state managers; and structural-functionalism was
criticized for assuming that the development and operations of the political
system were determined by the functional requirements of society as a whole.
\u2018\u2018State-centered\u2019\u2019 theorists claimed this put the cart before the horse. They argued
that state activities and their impact are easily explained in terms of its distinctive
properties as an administrative or repressive organ and/or the equally distinct-
ive properties of the broader political