State - State Formation, Nelson.docx

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Political Science
Political Science 1020E
Bruce Morrison

CHAPTER 2 – STATE FORMATIONS  Perhaps the most immediately notable characteristic of the state is that it is a territorial form of political organization  Sovereignty means not only that the governing authority is supreme within the state’s territory but that it is independent of all external authority as well  When more than one government claims sovereign authority, the state either does not exist or is in a condition of civil war  All states, the modern state included, are based upon some system of class stratification  Governance of such socially and political undifferentiated societies wherein no centralized authority exists, much less the sovereign state, can only occur through mechanisms of kinship  And the rules of justice in kin based societies are always and everywhere customary rather than statutory  State sovereignty cannot exist where real authority rests with subordinate social units  Theories of pristine state formation are of two types, those that see the state emerging through processes of integration, and those that see it as the outcome of conflict such as warfare  State societies are class stratified and that the state is profoundly implicated in the class system  The earliest pristine states arose during the late Neolithic period some 5 thousand years ago in the Nile Valley and in Mes
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