State-in-Society 2.0: Toward Fourth-Generation Theories of the State

38 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2020 Last revised: 21 Jan 2021

See all articles by Yuhua Wang

Yuhua Wang

Department of Government, Harvard University

Date Written: January 21, 2021

Abstract

I characterize modern social scientific studies of the state as comprising three generations: society centered, state centered, and the state-in-society approach. I then discuss how recent books by James Scott, David Stasavage, and Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson advance the literature by taking the entire history of human political development into account. Lastly, I build on recent contributions in the field to propose what I call a “State-in-Society 2.0” framework, in which state–society linkages through elite social networks shape the strength and form of the state. The framework provides a potentially promising analytical perspective that sheds new light on the “meso-temporal” dynamics that link broad historical trends in state–society relations with state development outcomes in a variety of cases.

Keywords: The state, state formation, state development, democracy, state–society relations

Suggested Citation

Wang, Yuhua, State-in-Society 2.0: Toward Fourth-Generation Theories of the State (January 21, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3646327 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3646327

Yuhua Wang (Contact Author)

Department of Government, Harvard University ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://scholar.harvard.edu/yuhuawang/home

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