State-in-Society 2.0: Toward Fourth-Generation Theories of the State
38 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2020 Last revised: 21 Jan 2021
Date Written: January 21, 2021
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
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