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O'Neil - On Defining The State Reading Notes (Short).docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Political Science
Paul Kingston

Defining the state – O’Neil reading The state monopolizes force and executes policy. Max Weber – a state in its most basic terms is an organization that maintains a monopoly of violence over a territory. Sovereignty – most important element of a state. Self-governing ability or ability to carry out actions or policies within a territory independently from external actors. Set forth laws, resolve disputes, generate security. To do this you need physical power. Armies for external threats, police for internal. The word police even comes from old French word meaning “to govern.” Thus seeks the majority of force within a territory, establishes order and deters challengers from inside and out. In doing so provides security. The state is a number of institutions engaged in process of turning political ideas into policy. Laws, health care, employment, transportation, parks etc. Also set of institutions that society deems necessary to achieve basic goals regarding freedom and equality. State is viewed by the public as legitimate, vital and appropriate. Remains in the face of crisis, turmoil or revolution. Civil ware can eliminate states, though unusual. STATE, GOVERNMENT & REGIME Therefore state is the monopoly of force over a given territory, but also the set of political institutions that transform ideas into concrete action and use their monopoly over violence to that end. The machinery of politics. Characterized by institutions such as an army, police, taxation and social welfare systems. More institutionalized. Institutionalized: established in practice or custom. Differentiate with Government – the leadership elite in charge of running the state. Often characterized by elected offici
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