POL201Y1 Lecture Notes - Bourgeoisie, Rulemaking, Planned Economy

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25 Apr 2012

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Lecture 1 (January 10)
- question of what is a state
- definitions by Weber, and Rueschemeyer and Evans
- Weber has classical version of definition
- characteristics of states:
- institutions, rule-making, hold ultimate power of coercion
- what do they do?
- need to survive
- states concerned with survival from external and internal forces
- must defend territory through various forces
- making policy/rules advances development of borders
- relating to objectives of economic growth, industrialization, improving citizen quality of
life, etc.
- to do this, state needs to extract resources from society i.e. taxation, or pillage and
- in command economy, through surplus of state owned production
- regime: how power is distributed within a political system, essentially the "rules of the
- i.e. a democracy is a regime type
- government: those in power at a given moment, who control the mechanisms in place
- main difference between state and government
- state: difficult to change, the mechanisms in place
- society: outward social structure, does not have a particular identity
- can states do what they set out to do
- depends on state capacity and opposition faced
- could be powerful social groups or difficult socioeconomic circumstances
- state autonomy, embedded autonomy, seen as a strong aspect of democracy
- done independently to pursue social interests
- does not mean completely autonomous
- must develop close relationship with businesses and reign in unions
- what would modernists say about autonomy?
- changes in society produces changes in the state
- state not seen as autonomous actor, instead it evolves from society
- fundamental to Marxists, state not autonomous actor
- acts in interests of the wealthy classes (bourgeoisie)
- states are, by nature, captured entities of the dominant class
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