The Oxford Handbook of Political Institutions
835 pág.

The Oxford Handbook of Political Institutions


DisciplinaCiências Políticas e Teoria do Estado622 materiais7.848 seguidores
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possibility. This approach is intended as a heuristic and many analyses of the state
can be easily reinterpreted in strategic-relational terms even if they do not explicitly
adopt these or equivalent terms. But the development of a strategic-relational research
programme will also require many detailed comparative historical analyses to work
out the speciWc selectivities that operate in types of state, state forms, political
regimes, and particular conjunctures (for an illustration, see Jessop 2002).
9 New Directions of Research
.........................................................................................................................................................................................
Notwithstanding declining interest in the more esoteric and abstract modes of state
theorizing, substantive research on states and state power exploded from the 1990s
onwards. Among the main themes are: the historical variability of statehood (or
stateness); the relative strength or weakness of states; the future of the national state
in an era of globalization and regionalization; the changing forms and functions
of the state; issues of scale, space, territoriality, and the state; and the rise of
governance and its articulation with government.
state and state-building 125
First, interest in stateness arises from growing disquiet about the abstract
nature of much state theory (especially its assumption of a ubiquitous, uniWed,
sovereign state) and increasing interest in the historical variability of actual states.
Thus some theorists focus on the state as a conceptual variable and examine the
varied presence of the idea of the state. Others examine the state\u2019s diVerential
presence as a distinctive political form. Thus Badie and Birnbaum (1983) usefully
distinguish between the political center required in any complex social division of
labor and the state as one possible institutional locus of this center. For them, the
state is deWned by its structural diVerentiation, autonomy, universalism, and
institutional solidity. France is the archetypal state in a centralized society; Britain
has a political center but no state; Germany has a state but no center; and
Switzerland has neither. Such approaches historicize the state idea and stress its
great institutional variety. These issues have been studied on all territorial scales
from the local to the international with considerable concern for meso-level
variation.
Second, there is growing interest in factors that make for state strength. Intern-
ally, this refers to a state\u2019s capacities to command events and exercise authority over
social forces in the wider society; externally, it refers to the state\u2019s power in the
interstate system. This concern is especially marked in recent theoretical and
empirical work on predatory and/or developmental states. The former are essen-
tially parasitic upon their economy and civil society, exercise largely the despotic
power of command, and may eventually undermine the economy, society, and the
state itself. Developmental states also have infrastructural and network power and
deploy it in allegedly market-conforming ways. Unfortunately, the wide variety of
interpretations of strength (and weakness) threatens coherent analysis. States have
been described as strong because they have a large public sector, authoritarian rule,
strong societal support, a weak and gelatinous civil society, cohesive bureaucracies,
an interventionist policy, or the power to limit external interference (Lauridsen
1991). In addition, some studies run the risk of tautology insofar as strength is
deWned purely in terms of outcomes. A possible theoretical solution is to investi-
gate the scope for variability in state capacities by policy area, over time, and in
speciWc conjunctures.
Third, recent work on globalization casts fresh doubt on the future of national
territorial states in general and nation states in particular. This issue is also raised
by scholars interested in the proliferation of scales on which signiWcant state
activities occur, from the local, through the urban and regional, to cross-border
and continental cooperation and a range of supranational entities. Nonetheless
initial predictions of the imminent demise of the national territorial state and/or
the nation state have been proved wrong. This reXects the adaptability of state
managers and state apparatuses, the continued importance of national states in
securing conditions for economic competitiveness, political legitimacy, social
cohesion, and so on, and the role of national states in coordinating the state
126 bob jessop
activities on other scales from the local to the triad to the international and
global levels.
Fourth, following a temporary decline in Marxist theoretical work, interest has
grown in the speciWc forms and functions of the capitalist type of state. This can be
studied in terms of the state\u2019s role in: (a) securing conditions for private proWt\u2014
the Weld of economic policy; (b) reproducing wage-labor on a daily, lifetime, and
intergenerational basis\u2014the Weld of social policy broadly considered; (c) managing
the scalar division of labor; and (d) compensating for market failure. On this
basis Jessop (2002) characterizes the typical state form of postwar advanced
capitalism as a Keynesian welfare national state. Its distinctive features were an
economic policy oriented to securing the conditions for full employment in a
relatively closed economy, generalizing norms of mass consumption through the
welfare state, the primacy of the national scale of policy-making, and the primacy
of state intervention to compensate for market failure. He also describes the
emerging state form in the 1980s and 1990s as a Schumpeterian workfare postna-
tional regime. Its distinctive features are an economic policy oriented to innovation
and competitiveness in relatively open economies, the subordination of social
policy to economic demands, the relativization of scale with the movement of
state powers downwards, upwards, and sideways, and the increased importance of
various governance mechanisms in compensating for market failure. Other types
of state, including developmental states, have been discussed in the same terms.
Fifth, there is interest in the changing scales of politics. While some theorists are
inclined to see the crisis of the national state as displacing the primary scale of
political organization and action to the global, regional, or local scale, others
suggest that there has been a relativization of scale. For, whereas the national
state provided the primary scale of political organization in the Fordist period of
postwar European and North American boom, the current after-Fordist period is
marked by the dispersion of political and policy issues across diVerent scales of
organization, with none of them clearly primary. This in turn poses problems
about securing the coherence of action across diVerent scales. This has prompted
interest in the novelty of the European Union as a new state form, the re-emergence
of empire as an organizing principle, and the prospects for a global state
(see, for example, Beck and Grande 2005; Shaw 2000).
Finally, \u2018\u2018governance\u2019\u2019 comprises forms of coordination that rely neither on
imperative coordination by government nor on the anarchy of the market. Instead
they involve self-organization. Governance operates on diVerent scales of organi-
zation (ranging from the expansion of international and supranational regimes
through national and regional public\u2013private partnerships to more localized
networks of power and decision-making). Although this trend is often taken to
imply a diminution in state capacities, it could well enhance its power