Talk:State (polity)

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Location location[edit]

Should this page not link to the disambiguation page about states? Even the etymolgy of the word implies that the first meaning was not about the US. Would anybody like to comment on this?

"Curently the entire land surface of the Earth..."[edit]

User:Hogeye edited the article to include the following:

Currently the entire land surface of the Earth is divided among the territories of the roughly two hundred states now existing, with the exception of Somaliland (stateless since 1991 but unrecognized by the UN [1]) and the continent of Antarctica.

I previously corrected "more than two hundred states" to the vaguer but I think more accurate "roughly two hundred states," on the grounds that most if not all sovereign states and the United Nations do not recognize more than two hundred other states. Seven countries have partitioned Antarctica; the United States does not recognize these claims. The fact that these claims have been made by serious countries, however, forces us to qualify "with the exception...of Antarctica."

Somaliland is itself a state existing in the otherwise lawless country of Somalia. The author might have meant Somalia instead. The existence of the new transnational government complicates the matter, not to mention that most of the country is controlled by de facto states. There are other regions in the world that would qualify according to some rubric for being stateless - the interior of Colombia is lawless, along with the uplands of Uganda where the Lord's Resistance Army hangs out, the disputed Spratly Islands, Transnistria, the Triple Frontier region in South America, and probably a whole lot of other ones that could qualify with varying degrees of clarity. My point is that we probably don't need to be asserting any of them, particularly not in the introduction. It would be difficult to actively assert any selection of them without a serious discussion of what qualifies a state, and therefore statelessness, and why these territories qualify; a claim may well be enough, and since that is beyond the scope of the introduction, I think a vague reference to "disputed territories and the special case of Antarctica" would be better. Adam Faanes 4 July 2005 02:22 (UTC)

Someone wrote> "Somaliland is itself a state existing in the otherwise lawless country of Somalia."
This is mistaken. Somaliland is a stateless society, with competing legal/arbitration entities based on the Xeer (traditional law centuries old). What probably fooled the person above was that the UN does not recognize Somaliland - instead decreeing that the artificial colonial French, English and Dutch former colonies (Somalia, Somaland, and Puntland) are one State. This is simply a bald claim by the UN and those attempting to impose statist rule from afar (e.g. the constitution made by UN bureaucrats in Cairo, the installing of a Puntland warlord as "president" of Somalia even though the local won't recognize him, etc.) Anyway, if you study up a little bit on "Xeer" and "Somaliland" you'll see that only in foreign UN statists' eyes is Somaliland a part of Somalia. Hogeye 3 July 2005 16:49 (UTC)
In order to say that, you have to assert a definition of government, and indeed, you have to force your definition of what a state is on others before we have even entered into the topic - ironically, since that is what you accuse the United Nations of doing. This is not something that deserves to be put in the introduction. Besides which, the "Somaliland" entity has an army, a constitution, and a central bank. Beside that, the entire land area of the country is claimed by another recognized state (the new transnational government) which would, according to the constitutive theory of statehood we mention later in the article, deny Somaliland any chance at statehood. You cannot formally reject that theory in the introduction or else you're denying a fair hearing. Beyond that, the entity of "Somaliland has been titled a state by Le Monde[1], this policy analysis site [2], in its official news outlet[3], the Somaliland Times [4], the Ethiopian Addis Tribune [5], these political analysis of the situation [6] [7] [8], the Somaliland Policy and Reconstruction Insitute [9], the UN [10], Reporters sans frontieres [11], this news service [12], and most glaringly, in its constitution[13]. But all that is irrelevant beyond demonstrating that the issue is controversial, and it is not something that should be asserted in the introductory section of the article.Adam Faanes 4 July 2005 02:22 (UTC)

Nation versus Country, and the State[edit]

There is a distinction made between "country" and "nation" where country has also been used to mean the body of people, its territory, and a single national government. Granted "nation" is a better description of a "country" to avoid the confusion of describing the less populated areas of a nation also called country. Country is still often used to describe a nation. State is correct when applied to a body of people with its territory under one government. The United States also makes distinctions for "state" to be one of its subdivisions under its Federal government where at the start of the United States each State was an independent entity. Each State of the United States does possess independent government capacities apart from the national government; and, the current United States took 218 years (with State being a Constitutional word of the supreme law of the land) and one civil war to look like it does in the year 2005.

Franz Oppenheimer[edit] One cannot understand the whole by studying only the parts, and if the whole is forgotten or explained away as unimportant. we condemn ourselves to ignorance. Dawson

Origins on the State[edit]

Unlike Locke and others, Oppenheimer rejected the idea of the "social contract" and contributed to the "conquest theory" of the State:

"The State, completely in its genesis, essentially and almost completely during the first stages of its existence, is a social institution, forced by a victorious group of men on a defeated group, with the sole purpose of regulating the dominion of the victorious group over the vanquished, and securing itself against revolt from within and attacks from abroad. Teleologically, this dominion had no other purpose than the economic exploitation of the vanquished by the victors."

"No primitive state known to history originated in any other manner. [1] Wherever a reliable tradition reports otherwise, either it concerns the amalgamation of two fully developed primitive states into one body of more complete organisation; or else it is an adaptation to men of the fable of the sheep which made a bear their king in order to be protected against the wolf. But even in this latter case, the form and content of the State became precisely the same as in those states where nothing intervened, and which became immediately 'wolf states'." (p. 15)

"The modern state" and Machiavelli[edit]

A recent addition to "The historical development of the state: The modern state" section has taken the proportion dealing with Machiavelli to more than half. Is this commensurate with his importance, or does WP:UNDUE apply? --Old Moonraker (talk) 13:08, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

Sorry, but the editor's recent contributions now seem to have thrown the article seriously off-balance. E.g., "a group of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives" (I know it's famous); "A policy made in African water sector could be made by either 1) A Christian Water MBA", etc. This seems to need serious pruning, but I don't feel confident to separate the good from the bad here. Offers, comments? --Old Moonraker (talk) 13:10, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, User:Blue-Haired Lawyer, that's a fix! --Old Moonraker (talk) 21:59, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

The historical development of the state[edit]

This section of the article looks like it was lifted from a high school essay and is written in an editorial tone, making weird references to specific types of firearms which have nothing to do with the political formation of a country. 05:20, 15 December 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

(sorry about that, didn't sign it right, apparently! -- (talk) 05:22, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

I didn't see the section, however, it is an important topic to address. I recommend putting the section back in--but with different content. I also recommend giving Liberal and Conservative Theories their own subsections under the State Function section. I think we can delete the Anarchy section--as this theory is more of a critique of states than a theory of its function. The Marxist section is good as it stands, but I recommend adding Marx's state progression model from Nomadic to Feudalistic to Modern to Socialistic to Communist. Finally, I changed the caption under the IWW jpeg. The poster was a socialist critique of capitalism--not an anarchist critique of it. --Lacarids (talk) 05:47, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
I'd be opposed to deleting the anarchy section - I think that that's absolutely relevant, and that it would be hard to draw a distinction between a "critique" and a "theory", especially in this case. (The section could certainly stand improvement, of course.) Also, just as an aside, in the case of groups like the IWW, there was not a strong distinction between "anarchist" and "socialist." From what I've seen in the scholarship, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, in common usage anarchists were generally considered to be one type of socialists among others (Marxists, e.g.). The caption "anti-capitalist" is good, but it's certainly not opposed to "anarchist". Sindinero (talk) 07:07, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Ideology, legitimacy and the new state: Yugoslavia, Serbia and Croatia[edit]

A recent edit assigns this work to the publisher Routledge. I've checked OCLC, the British Library Catalogue and Google Books, and all record Frank Cass as the publisher. What am I missing, please? --Old Moonraker (talk) 16:33, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Listed as Routledge here and Psychology Press (an imprint of Taylor & Francis, which is owned by Routledge) here. Perhaps there was an older edition that was published by Frank Cass? Anyhow, I'm not sure whether to use Routledge or Psych. Press. What do you think? -- Jrtayloriv (talk) 16:59, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the prompt response. The first thing I noticed was the "look inside" feature of the edition marked "Routledge": the title page still has "Frank Cass". It's no big deal—in fact it's a bit picky—and I wouldn't bother with it except for the recent unsummarized edit. I'm just trying to keep correlated the ISBN in the WP article with the publisher named—after all the ISBN supplied will contain a "publisher" component. It's hard to keep up with the amalgamations (this month's parent group seems to be Informa) so, as a lazy editor, I tend to stick with the original publisher from whichever edition provided the reference. As the original contributor seems to have been using an edition from "Psychology Press", perhaps that would be the one to go with, i. e., "no change".
--Old Moonraker (talk) 17:39, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

restored prior lead[edit]

The previous lead: "In the social sciences, a state is a compulsory political institution that maintains a monopoly of the legitimate use of force within a certain territory." was unsourced and placed too much emphasis on Weber's specific definition. aprock (talk) 22:13, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

And again. aprock (talk) 20:06, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
We have several sources that claim that Weber's is the most commonly used definition of the term "state". Therefore this is the definition we should use in the lead. The other definitions should be mentioned in the section below, "Definitional issues". -- Jrtayloriv (talk) 23:31, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
Most common is not the same thing as definitive. As the citations clearly indicate, there is no academic definition which is universally accepted. Imposing particular academic jargon over common usage is undue. aprock (talk) 00:54, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
From "The Origins of the State"

... there apparently no consensus on what is to be a state. The most common ... is still that proposed by Max Weber ... this definition has always raised several problems ...

It's clear that Weber's particular definition is not universal, and problematic. By all means, do read through the citations. aprock (talk) 01:01, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
Aprock -- I would have to agree with Jrtayloriv here. While you are correct that "common is not the same thing as definitive" (there is no such thing as a definitive definition), I still don't see why we would not choose to use the most common definition here. What is your justification for using the particular definition of state that you have chosen? Do you have any sources that say that the OED's definition is a better choice, or that it is widely used in the literature on the State? If not, I don't think it makes sense to arbitrarily choose that definition over one that is much more widely used (with plenty of secondary sources saying this). Given the large number of sources that say that Weber's definition is the most widely accepted, I think the burden should be on you to justify using your definition. Mesoderm (talk) 08:38, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

The Weber definition is for a sovereign state. This article is meant to encompass other kinds of states as well. Federated states, for example, don't have a monopoly on the use of force but must share sovereignty with the federal state they belong to. The same would go for protectorates. The prior lead ("organized community living under one government") was sourced and is less prescriptive. The "Weber lead" takes a certain point of view is a given fact and implies that the other (ie that protectorates and federated states are states) is wrong. This is a debate we should show on the article not simply portray one version as a fact. — Blue-Haired Lawyer t 21:11, 31 October 2013 (UTC)

Primary States[edit]

Hi can anyone help with this enquiry and definition "primary states are states that arise on their own (through competition among chiefdoms), and not through contact with other state societies". Are they states? or chiefdom's? or the same thing? cannot find anything on wiki about it--Navops47 (talk) 04:10, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

Additional citation and resources to add[edit]

I'll be adding a more info to the article according to this source : anatomy of the state Murray N. Rothbard. If anyone want's to add more info reply to this postNight-changer (talk) 17:47, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

States and governments[edit]

The lead of "State (polity)" uses a definition based on the term "government." When one goes to see the article "Government" on Wikipedia, government is defined by the term "state." On Wikipedia, states are defined by governments and government by states, which is awkward, circular, and imprecise. How can we mend this? Wolfdog (talk) 17:13, 4 October 2014 (UTC)