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Seminar on theories of the state

Опубликовано на портале: 17-01-2003
Факультет: Department of Sociology
Дисциплина: Социальная стратификация
Язык: Английский
Язык оригинала: английский
Тематические разделы: Социология, Социальная стратификация

This seminar has two primary objectives:

First, to deepen students understanding of alternative theoretical approaches to studying the state and politics, and second, to examine a range of interesting empirical/historical studies that embody, in different ways, these approaches in order to gain a better understanding of the relationship between abstract theoretical ideas and concrete empirical investigation.

We will focus on three broad theoretical approaches:
1. Marxist or class-analytic approaches which anchor the analysis of the state in terms of its structural relationship to capitalism as a system of class relations.
2. Weberian or organization-analytic approaches which emphasize the ways in which states constitute autonomous sources of power and operate on the basis of institutional logics and dynamics with variable forms of interaction with other sources of power in society.
3. Microfoundational approaches which emphasize the ways in which the actions of states are rooted in the interests, motivations, and strategic dilemmas of the people who occupy positions in the state.
While these three approaches have long pedigrees, we will not explore the classical formulations or the historical development of these traditions of analysis, but rather will focus on the most developed versions of each approach. Also, while these approaches are often posed as rivals, in fact much contemporary work combines them in various ways. One of the tasks of the seminar is to examine the ways in which these different traditions of theoretical work complement rather than contradict each other in generating compelling explanations of concrete historical problems of understanding states and politics.

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