State’ is a complex concept connoting wide range of parameters that attempt to define it. But, somehow, there is no consensus on any definition of the State. The theorists have not been unanimous about the State’s nature, structure, functions and behavior.
state forms ‘codified laws’, ‘shared norms’, ‘kinship’, ‘chiefdom’, ‘political system’, ‘sovereign authority’ or ‘divine monarch’; these terms have hinted at some or the other form of governance which came to be gradually defined as the ‘State’.
The State has been considered as a problematic institution. State can be understood through an analyses of its basic features of territory, population, sovereignty, and government. This means that a State exists in a geographically identifiable territory within which there exists a population, many of whom could be classed as citizens. The modern State overawes all other powers within a given territory through its institutions of bureaucracy, judiciary and military. Within the given territory, the State claims hegemony over all other groups and associations through its sovereign government. The State, thus, could be defined in terms of its monopoly of control over means of violence, territoriality, and sovereignty, constitutionality, impersonal power, public bureaucracy, authority, legitimacy and citizenship (Pierson, 1996).
In the words of Christopher W. Morris (1998, emphasis added), the State is characterised in terms of a number of interrelated features namely:
• Continuity in Space and Time: The State is a set of political organisations whose institutions endure over time
• Transcendence: The State’s institutions do not constitute it; they are its agents
• Political Organisation: These are institutions through which the State acts
• Authority: The sovereign is the ultimate source of political authority in its territory
• Allegiance: Citizens owe allegiance to the State and the State has a strong loyalty towards them.
The nature of state exist in three changing perspectives
liberal perspective based on their analyses of the ‘state of nature’ that has depicted human beings in a different light, compelling them to look for a surveillance system in the form of an individual or group of individuals in order to protect their life, property and self-interest.
Marxist Perspective Marx originally treated the modern State as a parasite institution that played no essential role in the economy. The State and State power was discussed as ‘epiphenomena’ of the system of property relations and the resulting economic class struggles.
Neo-liberal Perspective is a strong advocate of the retreat of the State. It is a pro-market, minimal State perspective that builds on the Public Choice approach, which in turn basis itself on principal-agent theory and transaction cost analysis.
THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE In order to understand if the State could be brought back in, we must recapitulate the evolution of the State under three major paradigms that could be categorised as Mark I, Mark II and Mark III. (Bhattacharya, 1999, op.cit).
ROLE OF THE STATE IN THE GLOBALSATION CONTEXT The traditional role of the State as a protector and promoter of the interests of the disadvantaged has also come under the impact of globalisation forces as many other social, economic and political institutions are beginning to take responsibility for dealing with the so-called disruptions in society. The market-based approach to public administration is leading to the emergence of Competition State, which is being interpreted as a commodifying agent.
State capacity is a necessary condition to use the opportunities provided by globalisation to work in these areas and to protect and promote the interests of vulnerable sections of society.The debate on whether globalisation positively affects the State’s capacity to provide goods and services or not would continue.
The globalisation process appears to be irreversible. Among the potential benefits are:
• Greater freedom of choice for individuals to obtain goods and services and engage in specialisation and exchange
• Comparative advantages in world trade
• Higher incomes to those employed in jobs for international markets
• Lower prices and greater availability of goods and services
• Opportunities to diversify risks
• Access to capital at lower costs
• More efficient and productive allocation of resources
• Inward transfer of knowledge and know-how
Thank you, Mohamud Shiekh, that is very comprehensive and outlines what we have discussed in the Unit. Moving forward, I also expect you to put your own personal experiences. That way I can help you further understand these concepts. I would want you to draw mostly from your own personal experiences.
Before taking this chapter I have no idea or concept of the nature of state .
Now I know the meaning of state as well defining and it works
Changing prespectives of the nature state .the study of the state has been looked at varios prespectives that gauge it interms parameters of indiviualism , egalitranism and universalism
Prespectivea are three types
Neo liberal prespectives
Role of the state globaliization
Negtive role :highligted by the critics
Positive :which cannot be overlooked
Thank you, Hamsa for the feedback. I am pleased that you have understood the concept of the State, its changing perspectives and the positive roles which cannot be overlooked. Please feel free to attempt the multiple choice questions for Unit 1 and use these to assess your understanding of the topic.