PSCI 1100 Lecture Notes - Mercantilism, Structural Adjustment, Authoritarianism
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Lecture No. 7 Institutions and States Friday, March 1st, 2013
Informal (sociological) institutions are relatively enduring patterns of rules and norms (e.g. the family,
friendship, property). Formal (political) institutions are forms of organization with codified rules (e.g.
parliaments, courts, international organizations, elections). A process such as election involves a formal
process of organization. Institutional dynamics: agency (knowledgeable practice) and structure (sets of
rules and resources). Social and political outcomes are results of the interplay of agency and structure
(e.g. elections). Take into account the relations between the agency and structure. States are both
agents (e.g. providers of public goods) and structures (e.g. of territorial organization).
Characteristics of the Modern State
Monopoly of legitimate violence (Max Weber): suppression of unauthorized private violence. Permission
of public violence for law enforcement and war. The state reserves for itself the use of public violence in
order to protect the public. Breaks with traditional ideas of morality, i.e. “Thou shalt not kill.”
Territoriality is the exclusive “property” and identity of the state. Fundamental aspect of the identity in
the state. Sovereignty is the ultimate authority, exclusive jurisdiction, internal self-determination the
interest of one person ruling the state, and external independence no state has control over another
state. The state is referred to as the sovereign state. People required in the state since the late 18th
roughly to the French Revolution, the nation has moved from a nation towards a “nation – state.” The
modern state cannot exist with law. Shown through legislation, execution, and adjudication of law. The
modern state involves centralized organizations; hierarchy of territorial or functional subdivisions.
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