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Lecture 6

Week 6 Lecture 1 GEOG 2200 2013 Notes.docx

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GEOG 2200
John Milton

Page1Week 6 Lecture 1 The Role of the StateGEOG 2200What is a StateThe state is the basic organizing unit of modern political life BUT it differs from the notion of a nation A nation refers to a group of people who feel themselves to be distinctive on the basis of a shared historical experience and cultural identity which may be expressed in terms of ethnicity language andor religion A state on the other hand refers to a set of institutions for the protection of a society as operating within an internationally recognized defined territory These two ideas come together to form nation states in cases where the state territorially contains only one nation The corollary of this is that not all national groups have their own stateThe role of the state in social regulation is directed towards the goal of ensuring social and economic stability thereby creating conditions that allow for prosperity The state assumes two basic functions in this respect First there is its accumulation function A key task of the state is supporting and protecting economic development within its territory This includes designing economic strategies promoting innovation and competitiveness and administering education and training programmes The second key function is legitimation This refers to a range of activities designed to maintain social order ensuring that the capitalist system and its associated structures retain their legitimacy in the eyes of the states citizens This includes welfare systemsKey regulatory activities undertaken by the state includeMaintenance of property rights and governance of territoryManagement of territorial boundariesControl of macroeconomic trendsGovernance of product marketsGovernance of financial marketsProvision of basic infrastructureSelection and development of economic growth strategiesProduction and reproduction of labour Other activitiespublic health citizenship rights income and wealth distribution reduction of poverty cultural development socialization environmental protectionenhancementThe state is explicitly geographical in form A state and a people rarely correlate geographically Most modern states have many groups of peoples So most states contain considerable internal diversity both in terms of its citizenry but also in terms of economic conditions cultural values and political allegiances This variation has generally been addressed by tiers of governments with differing realms of responsibilitiesfor us it is a federal form But the notion of a coherent national structure and economy has been seriously disrupted by external forces as well through the process of globalization and the formation of a global set of institutions such as the WTO the IMF and the World Bank as well as such UN organizations at the FAO and WHO UNEP and UNDPThe modern state is often regarded as a natural phenomenon In reality however the state as we understand it today is a relatively new idea It has been suggested that the State was a necessary political form for the maturation of capitalism and that it was also the outcome of Page2capitalism That is to say it was both a necessary condition and outcome of European capitalismThe modern state is the product of history and historical processes that took place in Western Europe following the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 What did this Peace achieve The Peace of Westphalia consisted of two Treaties the Treaty of Mnster and the Treaty of Osnabrck signed in October and May 1648 respectively which ended the Thirty Years War and the Eighty Years War The Peace marked the end of the Holy Roman Empire and ushered in the modern European state system creating the basis for the modern international system of independent states There are four main principles from the Peace1The principle of the sovereignty of nationstates and the concomitant fundamental right of political selfdetermination 2The principle of legal equality between nationstates 3The principle of internationally binding treaties between states and 4The principle of nonintervention of one state in the internal affairs of other statesBut the Peace did not rid Europe of some facets of feudalismmonarchies actually gained in power The growth of the state was subsequently closely associated with the rise of absolute monarchies These monarchies established centralized bureaucracies systems of taxation and large armies to defend their territory So the idea of the modern state is quite youngslightly older than 350 years Can we say that it has fully matured yetFluidity of State CreationLets take a quick look at the fluidity of states in only the past one hundred yearsPreWorld War 1 map of EuropePostWorld war 1 map of EuropePostWorld war 2 map of Europe Cold WarTodays map of EuropeMap of Africa preWorld War 1PostWorld war 1 map of AfricaPostWorld war 2 map of Africa Cold WarTodays map of AfricaStates todayCoe Kelly and Yeung 2008 identify six types of states in the world todayNeoliberal statessuch as the United Statesthe United Kingdom Australia and New ZealandWelfare statessuch a Germany and France in Western Europe and Sweden Norway and FinlandDevelopmental statesJapan and the NICs of Brazil Mexico Singapore Taiwan South Korea IndiaTransitional statespostsocialists countries of Eastern Europe and of the former Soviet Union China Southeast Asian nations
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