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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: February 2020

16 - States as Institutions

from III - The State and Its Political Organizations


During the 1980s, the state was “brought back in” to political sociology (Evans, Rueschemeyer, and Skocpol 1985), but its reappearance has taken a number of forms. For many scholars, the state returned in the role of a dominant actor or as a centralized organizational vehicle controlled by political elites and bureaucratic officials. Others conceptualized the state as the locus of “exchange” of social capitals among other domains (Bourdieu 2014) or as a centralized node harnessed to interlinked power networks that “penetrate” the economy and civil society within a particular territory (Mann 1986; Mitchell 1991). Still others envisioned the state as a concatenation of problem-solving projects or “assemblages” (Clemens 2006; Joyce and Mukerji 2017; Loveman 2005) rather than a bounded, coherent, hierarchical organization.

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