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Paradigm Lost: State Theory Reconsidered

Stanley Aronowitz
Peter Bratsis Editors
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: NED - New edition
https://doi.org/10.5749/j.ctttsh78
Pages: 328
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttsh78
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  • Book Info
    Paradigm Lost
    Book Description:

    This volume seeks to enrich and complicate current political debates by bringing state theory back to the fore and assessing its relevance to the social phenomena and thought of our day. Contributors: Clyde W. Barrow, Richard A. Cloward, Adriano Nervo Codato, Bob Jessop, Andreas Kalyvas, Rhonda F. Levine, Leo Panitch, Renato Monseff Perissinotto, Frances Fox Piven, Paul Thomas, Constantine Tsoukalas.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8999-6
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. State Power, Global Power
    (pp. xi-xxviii)
    Stanley Aronowitz and Peter Bratsis

    The ability to rise from the dead is unique to that which has been improperly buried. From Freud’sTotem and Tabooto Stephen King’sPet Sematary, a lack of proper burying protocol results in the return of that which had been thought dead. Marxist state theory and, increasingly, the state as an analytical object have been the victims of an improper burial. They have been buried by a conservative shift inside and outside of the academy. They have been buried by an assumed decline of the state in the face of globalizing and localizing forces. They have been buried by...

  2. PART I Miliband and Poulantzas in Review

    • CHAPTER ONE The Miliband–Poulantzas Debate: An Intellectual History
      (pp. 3-52)
      Clyde W. Barrow

      The publication of Nicos Poulantzas’sPouvoir politique et classes sociales(1968) and Ralph Miliband’sThe State in Capitalist Society(1969) initiated a return to the state in political science and sociology (Easton 1981; Evans, Rueschemeyer, and Skocpol 1985; Comninel 1987; Therborn 1987; Almond 1988), but it simultaneously fractured Marxist political theory into pieces that may never be reassembled (Barrow 1993; Alford and Friedland 1985; Carnoy 1984; Jessop 1982). Miliband observes that prior to the publication of his book, Marxists had “made little notable attempt to confront the question of the state” since Lenin. The one exception to this claim was...

    • CHAPTER TWO The State and Contemporary Political Theory: Lessons from Marx
      (pp. 53-72)
      Adriano Nervo Codato and Renato Monseff Perissinotto

      The goal of this essay is to present a reading of the Marxist theory of the state that is more complex than the version produced by recent “neo-institutionalist” critiques. With Marx’s historical works (Revolution and Counter-Revolution[1848],Class Struggles in France, 1848 to 1850[1850], andThe Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte[1852]) as our point of departure, we attempt to show that his conception of the state takes its internal institutional dynamics into account without forfeiting the perspective of class analysis. In this manner, when Marx introduces theinstitutional aspectsof the capitalist state apparatus into his historical analysis,...

    • CHAPTER THREE Bringing Poulantzas Back In
      (pp. 73-86)
      Paul Thomas

      In my 1994Alien Politics: Marxist State Theory Retrieved, I advanced the view—a view I stand by to this day—that Nicos Poulantzas’s theory developed over the all too brief span of his career in such a way that we can almost read in his successive writings the history of twentieth-century Marxist state theory in miniature, orin petto. Initially, Poulantzas advanced an explicitly Leninist strategy according to which the working-class movement was to be mobilized in a counterstate organization external to the capitalist state. The movement was of course to be subject to the leadership of a revolutionary...

  3. PART II The Contemporary Relevance of Miliband and Poulantzas

    • CHAPTER FOUR The Impoverishment of State Theory
      (pp. 89-104)
      Leo Panitch

      Once upon a time, the capitalist state did not exist. I am not speaking of the period before the middle of the millennium that has just come to a close, the era before the transition from feudalism to capitalism. I am speaking not of five hundred years ago but of less than fifty years ago, the late 1950s and early 1960s; and when I say that the capitalist state did not exist, what I really mean to say is that it did not exist as a term within mainstream political discourse, even as this discourse was reflected in the concepts...

    • CHAPTER FIVE The Stateless Theory: Poulantzas’s Challenge to Postmodernism
      (pp. 105-142)
      Andreas Kalyvas

      Nicos Poulantzas’s pathbreaking and seminal analysis of the nature of the capitalist state was provoked by a very specific political conjuncture and by a predominant intellectual current that had obliterated the state as a valid object of theoretical investigation. Against liberal pluralistic-functionalist approaches as well as orthodox, economistic versions of Marxism, which Poulantzas regarded as the two main causes for the disappearance of the state from academic studies, he sought to refocus the attention of mainstream political science (and of the left) on the capitalist state (Poulantzas 1978, 263–74). More than two decades after his untimely death in the...

    • CHAPTER SIX Eras of Protest, Compact, and Exit: On How Elites Make the World and Common People Sometimes Humanize It
      (pp. 143-169)
      Richard A. Cloward and Frances Fox Piven

      Until the last decade or so, virtually all European and American theorizing about the origins and development of the Keynesian welfare state (KWS) was evolutionary. True, there were disputes about theoretical orientations and methodological preferences. Nevertheless, the main body of work shared an underlying assumption that state provision would continue to expand, at least in the rich industrial nations, and that the forces impelling that expansion were rooted in the basic institutions of capitalist and democratic societies.

      One group of evolutionary interpretations was functionalist. The most influential of these posited that the growth of social programs was a necessary response...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN The Withering Away of the Welfare State? Class, State, and Capitalism
      (pp. 170-184)
      Rhonda F. Levine

      Without a doubt, the Miliband–Poulantzas debate was a major turning point in Marxist theorizing on the capitalist state and social class. The debate broke the theoretical impasse that had hindered state theory, transformed the discourse within Marxist political theory, and unleashed a flurry of overlapping and competing perspectives. For many of us, this was indeed a most exciting intellectual time. The debate produced several “schools of thought” in the 1970s and many of us firmly identified with one school or another. There is no need to review all the schools of thought and theories and critiques; that has been...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Globalization and the National State
      (pp. 185-220)
      Bob Jessop

      Poulantzas wrote well before the current hype about globalization took off and before claims about the death of the nation-state had became common. But his work during the 1970s did address some key issues involved in a serious Marxist analysis of the relation between (a) changes in the capitalist economy on a world scale and (b) the basic form and functions of the contemporary capitalist national state. These issues were first broached in a lengthy and important essay titled “The Internationalization of Capitalist Relations and the Nation State” (1973a in French, 1974b in English, but cited below from 1975, 37–...

    • CHAPTER NINE Relative Autonomy and Its Changing Forms
      (pp. 221-244)
      Constantine Tsoukalas

      It is more than a quarter of a century since the “crisis of the dictatorships” announced the “definitive” consolidation of democracies in Western and Southern Europe, a fact that was generally interpreted by the left as signifying the emergence of a new and more optimistic period of class struggles. We may, however, entertain growing doubts as to the nature of these triumphant democratic achievements. Despite the extension and formal consolidation of democracies, the capitalist state is becoming more and more arrogant, self-righteous, and authoritarian.

      The old Marxist question is still unanswered and unanswerable: how can it be that an increasing...

  4. PART III Beyond Miliband and Poulantzas

    • CHAPTER TEN Unthinking the State: Reification, Ideology, and the State as a Social Fact
      (pp. 247-267)
      Peter Bratsis

      After Marx first penned these famous words, we find that he did not stop “interpreting” the world or cease in his theoretical pursuits. Rather, he followed a very specific theoretical project that does not simply “interpret” but attempts to transform reality through a critical and demystifying understanding of it.¹ A “philosophy of praxis” (Gramsci) or “class struggle in theory” (Althusser) is the intended character of such a theoretical project; Marxist political theory takes as its goal the transformation of society through the production of a critical and subversive understanding of it.²

      Does state theory succeed in advancing this goal of...

    • CHAPTER ELEVEN Global Shift: A New Capitalist State?
      (pp. 268-286)
      Stanley Aronowitz

      At the turn of the century, in the shadow of the collapse of state socialism, what has been termed “global” capitalism has taken center stage in world politics. The unexpected emergence of social movements dedicated to, variously, throttling its power, overthrowing it, or reforming its more egregious features may be explained by the virtual free ride transnational capital has enjoyed since the 1990s. Workers’ movements have been cut down to size, in some cases impotence. The once vibrant Green parties of Germany and Italy seem securely integrated into their respective electoral systems and now live on as a fig leaf...