Study Cards on state, institutions, approach
three moments of social existence: the family, society and the state.
Family: altruism, people set aside their own interests for the good of their children/family.
Civil society: universal egoism, individuals place their own interest before others.
State: universal altruism, ethical community underpinned by mutual sympathy.
Critique: fails to distinguish between institutions that are part of the state.
Central function: maintenance of social order and deliver social stability.
Approach adopted by neo-marxists (see state as a mechanism through which class conflict is enhanced to ensure the long-term survival of the capitalist system).
Weakness: tends to associate any institution that maintains order with the state itself (family, church, mass media etc).
Clearly distinguishes between the state and civil society.
The state comprises the various institutions of government: the bureaucracy, the military, the police, the courts etc.
- State institutions are public (responsible for making and enforcing collective decisions).
- State is an exercise of legitimation (decisions are often binding on the members of society, because they are made in the public interest).
- State is an instrument of domination (state authority is backed up by coercion).
- State is a territorial association (jurisdiction of the state is geographically defined).
2) State institutions are public instead of the private institutions of civil society
3) The state is an exercise in legitimation; decisions are accepted as binding
4) The state is an instrument of domination; it must have the capacity to ensure that its laws are obeyed and transgressors are punished
5) The state is a territorial association; only between the borders
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