Pols241 sept. 14/2013 Week 2 Readings Chapter 2
A worldwide trend since the 1930s has been the steady growth of the role of the state in
Expansion of the state casued be
o 1) the emergence of the managerial state to combat the crisis of capitalism during the
o 2) widened scope of executive power in WWII
o 3) Growth in state regulative and welfare functions since the war.
Models are normative statements about what societies should be like
o They are empirical descriptions of how societies are and they are methodological
approaches suggesting what aspects of political life to study.
The liberal-Pluralist Approach to the state
The main normative empirical and methodological concern is with individuals who pursuing
their individual economic and political interest, together make up society.
While individuals form groups they tend to gravitate towards different groups whose interest’s
cross-cut with theirs because they all have a variety of interests.
Do not like using the idea of the general good
o Believe that people are the most useful to society when they are allowed to pursue their
own political and economic interests freely.
Pursuit of individual interests= best good for society
When we turn to late-developing countries the fact that they are follower economies makes
many of the indispensible infrastructure expenditures “unprofitable” and the role of the state
20 century pluralism
o Especially the variant of group theory views the state in a more positive light.
The function equivalent of the markets hidden hand in group theory is
competition among groups combined with cross-cutting membership among
Group theorists reject the idea that the state is necessary to control conflict
because in group theory conflict regulation is an autonomous outcome of the
interactions of different groups.
This approach is less appropriate in societies where cleavages are compounded
or in crisis situations
The dominant idea of group theorists is that interest-groups operate in an unchartered context.
o Instead they quite often have been very strictly chartered by the state in accordance
with the state’s and not the groups own interest lines.
o Such a perspective can barely deal with cases of part-states like China and the Soviet
Union where the party based controlling of the state apparatus have been successful in
imposing their ideological designs on the people. Problems with this theory are also seen in many Greek, Italian Renaissance and Swiss city-states
where the private sphere of interests was relatively small compared to the political sphere in
which the government structured activities.
Classical Marxist Theory
Treats the state as a dependant variable
Rejects the atomistic starting point of liberal pluralism on the methodological grounds that you
cannot discuss anyone without talking about the sum total of the relationships the individuals
o The most fundamental relationship involves the mode of production