Sociology 924, Theories of the State

Fall 2011

Syllabus, Readings: session 1, session 3, session 4, session 5, session 6, session 7, session 9, Links to books for semester term papers, Interrogations & Agendas


Session 1 readings, September 8  Claus Offe

Because Claus Offe will be visiting the department September 12-17 and attending the seminar on the 15th, it is important that students in the seminar read the material for his visit before the beginning of the semester. We will have an initial discussion of these papers on September 8, and then a second discussion with Claus on September 15 in the regular seminar time.

Core readings by Claus Offe on the state from the 1970s and 1980s

Structural Problems of the Capitalist State: Class rule and the political system. On the selectiveness of political institutions, in Von Beyme (ed). German Political Studies, vol. I (Sage, 1974).pp.31-57

The Capitalist State and the Problem of Policy Formation, in Leon Lindberg (ed), Stress and Contradiction in Contemporary Capitalism (D.C. Heath, 1975)pp.125-14

Theses on the theory of the State, in Contradictions of the Welfare State, by Claus Offe (MIT Press 1984), pp. 119-129 

Crises of Crisis Management: elements of a political crisis theory, International Journal of Politics, 6:3, Fall, 1976, pp.29-67

More recent writing on the state      

"Governance: an empty signifier?" Constellations, Volume 16:4, 2009

"Crisis and innovation in liberal democracy: can deliberation be institutionalized?" Czech Sociological Review (3) 2011

"Ungovernability", unpublished manuscript, 2011

"Political disaffection as an outcome of institutional practices? Some post-Toquevillean speculations", in Mariano Torcal and J.R. Montero (eds), Political Disaffection in Contemporary Democracies (London: Routledge, 2006: 23-45)

Other articles, not directly on the state

"From Migration in Geographic Space to Migration in Biographic Time: views from Europe" The Journal of Political Philosophy, 2011

"Basic Income and the Labor Contract," Analyse & Kritik 10/2009

"Inequality and the Labor Market -- theories, opinions, models and practices of unequal distribution and how they can be justified" ZAF (2010) 43:39-52

"Capitalism", entry in the International Political Science Association Encyclopedia of Political Science

"What, if anything, might we mean by 'progressive' politics today?"  unpublished manuscript, 2010

"Shared Social Responsibility: reflections on the need for and supply of 'responsible' patterns of social action" unpublished manuscript, 2010

"Shared social responsibility: a concept in search of its political meaning and promise", unpublished manuscript, January 2011

Session 3 readings. September 22. Goran Therborn

Erik Olin Wright, "Class and Politics", in Interrogating Inequality (Verso: 1994). pp.88-106.

 Session 4 readings. September 29. Bob Jessop

        Bob Jessop, "Putting States in their Place," pp.338-369 in Bob Jessop, State Theory: putting capitalist states in their place (Penn State University Press, 1990).

Session 5 readings. October 6.  The Poulantzas-Miliband Debate

 Background Readings (summaries and exigeses of Poulantzas):

Erik Olin Wright, "A reading guide to Poulantzas, Political Power and Social Classes" (typescript, 1977; updated, 1982)

Martin Carnoy, "Structuralism and the State: Althusser and Poulantzas" chapter 4 in The State and Political Theory (Princeton University Press, 1984),

Bob Jessop, "Recent Theories of the Capitalist State," chapter 1 in State Theory: putting Capitalist States in their place (Penn State University Press, 1990).

Gosta Esping-Anderson, Roger Friedland and Erik Olin Wright, "Modes of Class Struggle and the Capitalist State", Kapitaliststate No 4/5, 1975

Core Readings

Nicos Poulantzas, Political Power and Social Classes (London, New Left Books, 1973), pp. 37-56, 186-194

Nicos Poulantzas, "The Problem of the Capitalist State," NLR I/58, November-December 1969, pp. 67-78

Ralph Miliband, "The Capitalist State--Reply to N. Poulantzas", NLR I/59, January-February 1970, pp. 53-60

Ralph Miliband, "Poulantzas and the Capitalist State," NLR I/82, November-December 1973, pp. 83-92

Nicos Poulantzas, "The Capitalist State: A Reply to Miliband and Laclau," NLR I/95, January-February 1976, pp. 63-83

Ralph Miliband, "State Power and Class Interests,"  NLR I/138, March-April 1983, pp. 57-68


 Session 6 readings. October 12    Adam Przeworski 

Adam Przeworski and Michael Wallerstein. "Popular Sovereignty, State Autonomy and Private Property," European Journal of Sociology XXVII (1986), 215-259

Session 7 readings. October 20   Charles Tilly

        Charles Tilly, Coercion, Capital and European States  (Oxford: Blackwell, 1990), Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5

Session 9 readings.  November 3  Michael Mann

        Michael Mann, The Sources of Social Power, Volume I. A History of power from the beginning to A.D.1760, Chapter 1, pp. 1-33

        Michael Mann, The Sources of Social Power, Volume II. The Rise of classes and nation states, 1760-1914. 

                                (Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapter 14, Chapter 20)


Tables of Content & introductory chapters of dissertations-into-books for semester term papers

1.     David Abraham, The Collapse of the Weimar Republic. (second edition , Holmes and Meier, 2002).  Introductory material

2.     Julia Adams, The Familial State: ruling families and merchant capitalism in early modern Europe (Cornell Univerity Press: 2005).  Introductory material

3.     Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Militants and Citizens: the poilitics of participatory democracy in Porto Alegre (Stanford, 2006)    Introductory material

4.     Carolyn Baylies, Class structure and State formation in Zambia (PhD dissertation, 1978).    Introductory material

5.     Richard Bensel, Yankee Leviathan: The Origins of Central State autonomy: 1859-77 (Cambridge, 1990).    Introductory material

6.     Vivek Chibber, Locked in Place: state-building and late industrialization in India  (Princeton, 2003).    Introductory material

7.     Gosta Esping-Anderson,  Politics Against Markets (Princeton, 1985).     Introductory material

8.     Roger Friedland, Power and Crisis in the City: corporations, Unions and Urban Policy (McMillan 1982).     Introductory material

9.     Ran Greenstein, Geneaologies of Conflict: Class, Identity, and State in Palestine/Israel and South Africa. (University Press of New England, 1995).     Introductory material

10.   Nora Hamilton, The Limits of State Autonomy (Princeton, 1982).     Introductory material

11.   Patrick Heller, The Labor of Development: Workers and the transformation of capitalism in Kerala, India (Cornell University Press, 1999)    Introductory material

12.   David James, The Transformation of Local State and Class Structures" (unpublished dissertation, University of Wisconsin 1981).     Introductory material

13.   Kathleen McNamara, The Power of Ideas: monetary politics in the European Union (Cornell, 1998).      Introductory material

14.   Vedat Milor, The Comparative Study of Planning and Economic Development in Turkey and France (Berkeley, PhD dissertation, 1989).     Introductory material

15.   Ton Notermans, Money, Markets and the State (Cambridge: 2000).      Introductory material

16.   Ann Orloff, The Politics of Pensions: a comparative analysis of Britain, Canada, and the United States, 1880-1940 (University of Wisconsin Press, 1993).      Introductory material

17.   James Ron, Frontiers and Ghettos: state violence in Serbia and Israel (California 2003).      Introductory material

18.   Theda Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions (Cambridge University Press, 1979)   Introductory Material

19.   Stephen Skowronek, Building a New American State (Cambridge University Press, 1982).     Introductory material

20.   Richard Snyder, Politics After Neoliberalism: reregulation in Mexico (Cambridge University Press: 2001).     Introductory material

21.   George Steinmetz, Regulating the Social: the welfare state and local politics in Imperial Germany (Princeton University Press, 1993)    Introductory material

22.   Ellen Kay Trimberger,  Revolution from Above: Military Bureaucrats and development in Japan, Turkey, Egypt and Peru (Transaction Books, 1978).     Introductory material

23.   Jeffrey Winters, Power in Motion: capital mobility and the Indonesian State (Cornell, 1996).      Introductory material


Additional dissertations-into-books suggested by Maurice Zeitlin  

24.  Desai, Manali. 2007. State formation and Radical Democracy in India. Routledge.     Introductory material

    25.  Elazar, Dahlia Sabina. 2001. The Making of Fascism: Class, State, and Counter--revolution, Italy 1919-1922. Praeger.     Introductory material

    26.  Roxborough, Ian. 1977. Chile: State and Revolution, (with P.O'Brien and J.Roddick) Macmillan.     Introductory material

    27.  Yago, Glenn. 1984. The Decline of Transit: Urban Transportation in German and U.S. Cities, 1900-1970 .     Introductory material


Additional dissertations-into-books suggested by Jess Gilbert

28.  Alice O'Connor, Poverty Knowledge: Social Science, Social Policy, and the Poor in Twentieth-Century U. S. History [Princeton, 2001].      Introductory material

29.  Suzanne Mettler, Soldiers to Citizens: The G. I. Bill and the Making of the Greatest Generation [Oxford, 2005].      Introductory material



Weekly Interrogations & Agendas

Session 1. Claus Offe Interrogations Agenda
Session 2. Goran Therborn Interrogations Agenda
Session 3. Bob Jessop Interrogations Agenda
Session 4.Poulantzas/Miliband debate Interrogations Agenda
Session 5. Adam Przeworski Interrogations Agenda
Session 6. Charles Tilly Interrogations Agenda
Session 7. Michael Mann    
Session 8. Gostas Esping-Anderson    
Session 9. Peter Evans