Technologies of State: The Technological Foundations of the Modern State
48 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2007
Date Written: December 4, 2007
Drawing on Weber and Foucault, I argue that the modern state can be best conceived as the center of gravity of the set of social technologies that enable the delimitation of communities, the establishment and control of territories, and the production of legitimacy. These technologies are then deployed in organizations, embedded in political regimes, and operated by governments and others who put them to use for a variety of purposes. This technological view of the state, I argue, enriches the traditional Weberian view and sheds light on the questions of the autonomy, unity, and strength of the state. I illustrate it with brief discussions of several examples of the social technologies that help to constitute the state: the passport and other identity documents, the primary school, roads and maps, statistics, and law.
Keywords: state, weber, foucault
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