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SOCI 1002 (204)
Lecture 4

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SOCI 1002
Christian Carron

Lecture 4 The State Nation and Politics NationalismWhen asked a question about nationality a person may answer AmericanBritishGermanItalian FrenchPortuguese or Canadian and so on However if answering British the person may also answer English or Welsh or ScottishAs it happens both answers are proper responses to the question of nationality but refer to different things When answering British they are indicating that they are a British subject that is a citizen of the state called Great Britain or the United Kingdom When answering English they are reporting the fact that they belong to the English nationNationalism can be a unifying force and a can be divisive and deadly A question about nationality makes both answers possible and acceptable and demonstrates how the two memberships are not clearly distinguished from each other and thus may become confusedYet while state and nation may overlap they are quite different things and a persons membership of each involves them in very different kinds of relationships Citizenship and the State There is no state without a specific territory held together by a centre of powerEvery resident of the area over which the authority of the state extends belongs to the state Belonging in this case has first of all a legal meaning Authority of the state means the ability to declare and enforce the law of the landState has a monopoly over the legitimate means of violenceTherefore the state claims the sole right to apply coercive force The other side of the state monopoly of physical coercion is that any use of force which has not been authorized by the state or committed by anyone other than its authorized agents is condemned as an act of violence The laws announced and guarded by the state determine the duties and the rights of the state subjects One of the most important of these duties is the payment of taxesgiving away a part of our income to the state which takes it over and puts it to various usesThe rights on the other hand may be personal Here we might include the protection of our own body and possessions the right to profess our own opinions and beliefsThey may also be political in terms of influencing the composition and the policy of state organs for example by taking part in electionsThe rights and duties coming from citizenship in the State has the potential for people to feel simultaneously protected and oppressedThe State has enabling and constraining influences on our lives Our experience of the state is inherently ambiguous we may like and need it and dislike and resent it at the same time People can sometimes challenge the control and authority of the State
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