Modern state, bureaucracy, civilizational turn, reformist collectivism, revolutionary collectivism, bio-power Weber, Foucault, Elias, Marx
This essay's purpose is to underline three crucial aspects which characterize the modern state. Referring to many relevant social scientists, such as Marx, Weber, and, Foucault, this essay shows that the monopoly of legitimate violence, bureaucracy and social penetration are three major elements of the modern state.
[...] Many observers explain that the rising capitalist class made the state become more liberal. Thus, this progressive shift enabled Britain to reach the first commercial and manufacturing power's rank. However, this first modern state is small: it cannot interfere across a wide range of activities. Notably, it has to keep out of economic sphere and to leave it to the free play of market. Nonetheless, it is clear that the modern state is characterized by its tendencies to gradually penetrate as many as possible spheres of the social life. [...]
[...] In other terms, the idea of the modern state, more than its concrete implementation, is necessarily an outcome of the capitalism. However, a modern state can be established in a non-capitalist system. For example, the Soviet Union state can be considered as modern because it possesses the monopoly of coercion, is based upon a bureaucratic system and penetrates all the civil society's spheres. Nevertheless, it may be argued that both capitalism and bureaucracy are founded on rationality, indeed the functioning of a corporation is similar to that a modern administration. For instance, one can study the British case. [...]
[...] These are notably one-party states, dictatorial and being involved in every spheres of social life (D. Held, 1984). Moreover, Michel Foucault as well as Norbert Elias have seen the emergence of a ''disciplinary society'' tied with the rise of the modern state. Their analysis of the modern state strengthens the idea that the modern state is involved in process of the control of its citizens' behaviour. The modern state not only manages politics, police, justice and army but also concerns the private life of its citizens. [...]
[...] He also argues that the weakness of the primary state, so-called by him ''patrimonial office'', is caused by its irrationality. For Weber, indeed, the emergence of the patriarchal power, which is characterized by the expansion of the boundaries, brings about the necessity of new methods of control. Those who are personally involved with the patriarchal chief form the administration, making increase the weight of arbitrariness. Moreover, Weber puts forward that the pure type of traditional rule, the following features of a bureaucratic administrative staff are absent: a clearly defined sphere of competence, subjected to impersonal rules, a rationally established hierarchy, a regular system of appointment on the basis of free contract, and orderly promotion, technical training as a regular requirement and fixed salaries, in the type case paid in money” (Quoted in M. [...]
[...] This disciplinary power works through institutions such as schools, prisons, asylums, factories and universities. For example, the education system in France was critically developed in the 19th century. In 1833, François Guizot created a system of primary schools providing free education in every parish. In 1881, Jules Ferry established free education and in 1882 made education compulsory and secular. The implementation of these measures can be considered as the will of the French state to shape the citizens' minds, making them conformable to the ideology spread by this state. [...]
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