State: the totality of government institutions, officials, laws and procedures
• A series of institutions that maintains a monopoly of violence over a territory. It relies on sovereignty—the ability to
carry out actions in a territory independently—and power.
• Max Weber: “a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force
within a given territory”
• State has people, boundaries, a form of rule and others recognize it as a state
• Sovereignty: ability to carry out actions and policies within a territory independent of external actors and internal
• Legitimacy: a value whereby something or someone is recognized and accepted as right and proper
o Tradition, charismatic, and rationallegal
• Autonomy: the ability of the state to wield its power independently of the public or internal actors
Regime is the rules and norms of politics; in some nondemocratic countries where politics is dominated by a single
individual, we may use the term regime to refer to that leader.
Legitimacy – Legitimate Authority (Max Weber)
• Categories of how people legitimize authority – most leaders have a mix of all three – authority is the right to rule
• Traditional: habits and custom over time (strongly institutionalized)
• Legalrational: routine and procedures and the offices that create and enforce the rules (strongly institutionalized)
• Charismatic: force of ideas and the presence of a leader (weakly institutionalized)
• Centralization and Decentralization – states vary in their distribution of power. Some states use federalism, where
significant powers reside in regional or local authorities. This “pushing down” of power is called devolution. Federalism
does not need to be uniform; some countries use asymmetric federalism, where power is devolved unevenly between
regional bodies. Others states are unitary states, where most power is held in a central government.
• Strong states: ones that can fulfill basic functions and enforce rules.
• Weak states: ones that cannot execute these tasks well—the most extreme cases called failed states.
• State’s capacity: its ability to wield power to carry out policies or actions.
Institutions: channel information about society, politics, and power. When we talk about democracy, we invoke lots of
institutions and norms that uphold those institutions (e.g. freedom and marriage).
• Enduring regularities of human interaction: routines, practices, relationships, and systems of society
• Political institutions: procedural devices associated with politics – distance between individuals and power holders
• The Executive:
o Head of state – usually ceremonial
o Head of government: chief political officer, responsible for presenting government
• Legislature: chief funct