Theories of the Democratic State

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We live in a world governed by states. The whole of the Earth's liveable surface and all of the world's people are parcelled up between states. States' performance (or failure) and their relationships with one another are still key motors of global history. Backed by their state's capacity to raise taxes and finance debts, governments remain fundamental guarantors of markets, economic life and financial system stability in every nation.

Yet the very nature of states remains deeply contested, between different and competing theories of how they actually do or should operate. In the past this competition has lead to deep ideological conflicts - and even to war. In this major new work, John S. Dryzek and Patrick Dunleavy expound and reassess contemporary theories of the state, focusing primarily on the democratic state form that has come to dominate modern politics worldwide.

Four classical theories of the state - pluralism, elite theory, Marxism and market liberalism - provide the foundations for the analysis. The authors then focus on the contemporary forms of pluralism that dominate political science, showing how they address critical contemporary issues, such as networked governance, globalization, and the changing patterns of electoral and identity politics. Next they analyse a range of powerful critiques of modern states and liberal democracy that have emerged from feminism, environmentalism, neo-conservatism and post-modernism. Each approach is carefully introduced, and accessibly and vividly analysed in relation to a common set of issues and headings.

Theories of the Democratic State takes readers straight to the heart of contemporary issues and debates. In the process,it provides a challenging, distinctive and wide-ranging introduction to and reassessment of contemporary political science.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230542877
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 4/14/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

JOHN S. DRYZEK is Professor of Social and Political Theory in the Political Science Program, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University.

PATRICK DUNLEAVY is Professor of Political Science and Public Policy Chair at the London School of Economics and Politics Science, UK.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables viii

Preface x

1 The State and Liberal Democratic Politics 1

Defining the state 1

Theories of state formation 8

The history of state formation 12

Liberal democracy 18

Conclusion 32

Part I The Classical Theories

2 Pluralism 35

Origins and core assumptions: the roots of pluralism 35

Society and politics 46

Government and policy making 49

Crisis and change in pluralist thought 52

3 Elite Theory 57

The origins of elite theory 58

Society and politics 65

Government and policy making 72

Conclusions 76

4 Marxism 79

Origins and core ideas 80

Society and politics 88

Government and policy making 92

Conclusions 98

5 Market Liberalism 100

Origins and core ideas 101

Society and politics 108

Government and policy-making 113

Agendas and political change 119

Conclusions 127

Part II Pluralist Transformations

6 From Neo-pluralism to Governance 131

The development of pluralism 131

Society and politics 135

Policy making: from government to governance 140

Agendas and political change 149

Conclusion 154

7 Competitive Electoral Politics 155

Society and politics: voters, parties, systems 156

Government and policy making: legislative politics 173

Agendas and political change 180

Conclusion 183

8 Identity Politics 184

Origins and core assumptions 185

Society and politics 188

Government and policy making 191

Agendas and political change 198

Conclusion 202

Part III Critiques of the State

9 Democratic Critique and Renewal 207

The democratic deficit in liberal democracies 207

Participatory democracy and civic republicanism 211

Deliberative democracy 215

Conclusion 225

10Feminist Theory of the State 226

Origins and core assumptions 226

Society and politics 232

The feminist critique of government and policy making 236

Agendas and political change 239

Conclusion 242

11 Environmental Theory of the State 243

Origins and core assumptions 243

Society, politics and ecosystem 250

The environmental critique of government and policy making 256

Agendas and political change 261

Conclusion 267

12 The Conservative Reaction 269

Origins and assumptions 269

Society and politics 271

The conservative critique of government and policy making 274

Agendas and political change 278

Neo-conservatism 282

Conclusion 286

Part IV Beyond the State

13 Post-modernism 289

Origins and core assumptions 290

Society and politics 294

Government and policy making 296

Agendas and political change 301

Conclusion 306

14 Globalization 307

Origins and assumptions 307

(International) society and politics 311

Government and policy making 313

Agendas and political change 319

Globalization's consequences for theories of the democratic state 325

Conclusion 328

15 Current and future debates about the state 329

The fate of the classical theories 330

Persistent critiques and new agendas 333

Liberal democracy in question 334

The return of empire? 336

New kinds of governance 337

Conclusion 338

Bibliography 340

Index 362

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