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21 Comp. Pol. Stud. 3 (1988-1989)

handle is hein.journals/compls21 and id is 1 raw text is: 


                                     ON THE STATE

                       IN   COMPARATIVE AND


                                      JAMES   A. CAPORASO
                          Editor, Comparative  Political Studies

 A   fter decades of neglect, the concept of the state is once again a
     central object of theory and empirical research (see Evans et al.,
1985; Daedalus, 1979; and Carnoy, 1984, for excellent reviews and
edited collections). In the Anglo-Saxon world, the reasons for neglect
are not hard to find. The philosophy and methodology associated with
logical empiricism stressed a decomposable world of atomic facts, each
analytically separate from the others. The methodology itself found it
difficult to be supportive of more holistic notions, such as political
institutions or the state. Pluralism, the reigning version of domestic
politics, saw everything as capable of reduction to group process. States,
or governments, existed to be sure, but pluralist theory interpreted them
as instruments of convenience designed to advance individual and group
interests. The pluralist state was primarily passive, reacting to pressures
emanating from society. Its dependent role discouraged attention to it as
an active agent in the political process.
  The  resurgence of interest in the state is more difficult to explain.
There seem to be no compelling breakthroughs that have stimulated
fundamental research, making it unlikely that contemporary interest in
the state is a purely internal intellectual matter. Indeed, one of the most
important academic articles on the state was written in 1968 (Nettl,
1968) but attracted very little attention until over 10 years later.
Something was not quite yet ripe, and that something probably lay in
the political rather than the academic world.
  If one discounts the cycles of academic fads (from the state to govern-
ment to political system back to the state?), it is likely that renewed in-
terest in the state stems from changes that have occurred, and that
COMPARATIVE POLITICAL STUDIES, Vol. 21 No. 1, April 1988 3-12
C 1988 Sage Publications, Inc.

from the SAGE Social Science Collections. All Rights Reserved.

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