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To dab. or not to[edit]

This article used to offer a concise encyclopedic overview detailing different frameworks for defining the state. In the past year, however, someone turned this article into a disambiguation page, and directed the content defining the state to the article 'sovereign state.' That change had the effect of conflating the concepts of sovereignty and the state. Therefore, I have restored an older version of the article offering an appropriately broad overview of the concept. If anyone has any questions or concerns, please let me know. 172 | Talk 02:01, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

This means we've lost the disambiguation page. Perhaps the current content could be on a page called State (political entity), so that the disambiguation page could be called State. Alternatively, there could be a State (disambiguation) page, with a hatnote ("This page is about the political entity, for other uses see State") on this (political entity) State page. This latter option should only be used if we felt a large majority of readers who typed state where wanting to know about the political entity - I would have doubts about this, since state is a very general word.--catslash (talk) 09:21, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
It seems that:
  • The State page has been a disambiguation page since 06-08-2003 [1], not earlier this year.
  • Although you distinguish between sovereign state and the sort of state described in the current revision, this revision does state in the first sentence that it's about state which have sovereignty.
  • The current revision approximately duplicates the sovereign state page.
  • State (disambiguation) redirects to this page (and so is lost, as I mentioned earlier).--catslash (talk) 11:37, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Yes, unfortunately, the current does duplicate the sovereign state page. The problem is that sometime in 2008 someone moved the content in state to sovereign state, and then created a new page on state. The sovereign state should be moved back to page state ... I am no longer an administrator. I believe we need an administrator make these moves. 172 | Talk 16:56, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Strange: I can't find anywhere in the last six years where State was other than a disambiguation page. The objection to conflating sovereignty and statehood is unclear to me - it seems to be at odds with the lead in the sovereign state/(current State) article(s). However, I'm pretty sure this want of clarity is due to my own ignorance of political theory. Perhaps you could think of a more appropriate adjective (or parenthetical expression) than sovereign? Independent state? Autonomous State? This would free the State page title. It's good to have a disambiguation page to link to nation state, State (administrative division), State of matter etc.--catslash (talk) 00:48, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
Check the history of the "sovereign state"; that article is the old page entitled 'state.' ... The entry on 'state' must define the concept in its broadest sense, encompassing all subtopics— the set of institutions with a monopoly on the legitimate use of force within a specific territory. ... The content offering the political sociological overview defining the term was rather clumsily moved to the entry on 'sovereign state.' However, the sovereign state is a more specific topic. Not all 'states' are 'sovereign.' In international relations theory, states are either sovereign or not sovereign. Political entities that are part of confederations, or under colonial suzerainty, for instance, may be states, but are not sovereign because they do not have the right to make treaties, directly with sovereign states in international law. 172 | Talk 05:29, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for explaining non-sovereign statehood (but is that different from State (administrative division)?). Some points I'd like to press though (forgive me if I'm repeating without much clarification).
  • The current content of State seems to be principally about sovereign states (according to the very first sentence)
  • The former dab. content of State seems to have grown directly from the 2003 dab. content (unless I'm somehow misreading the history). The history of sovereign state is harder to follow - could you point out exactly when it was overwritten with the content of State please?
Given your chosen discipline (political history?), I don't doubt that when you hear the word state, you first think of the socio-political entity - so appropriation of the State page would seem only reasonable. Coming from outside the humanities, it seems to me like an audacious land-grab (forgive my bluntness). Would you consider moving the current content to e.g. Autonomous state or State (political entity)? --catslash (talk) 12:04, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  • I agree with catslash; the disambiguation page is clearly needed, and should not have been simply "vanished" - frankly I'm relieved that 172 is no longer an admin. No doubt the incoming links have not been reviewed when making the change. Given that "state" probably means Arizona etc to most American users, I think the disam page at plain State is probably the best solution, and this should be reverted to while discussion continues. Or at least the disam reinstated at State (disambiguation), which currently redirects here. Johnbod (talk) 12:56, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
    • I have never worked with you; and I have no idea who you are. Immediately starting off with your ad hominem attack against me is telling. Frankly, I think you are insulting the intelligence of many of our readers by saying, "the state probably means Arizona etc to most American users." This is a misconception that reading an encyclopedia article should correct. 172 | Talk 00:49, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
  • The definition of state copied form



1. the condition of a person or thing, as with respect to circumstances or attributes: a state of health.

2. the condition of matter with respect to structure, form, constitution, phase, or the like: water in a gaseous state.

3. status, rank, or position in life; station: He dresses in a manner befitting his state.

4. the style of living befitting a person of wealth and high rank: to travel in state.

5. a particular condition of mind or feeling: to be in an excited state.

6. an abnormally tense, nervous, or perturbed condition: He's been in a state since hearing about his brother's death.

7. a politically unified people occupying a definite territory; nation.

8. ...

There are lots of other meaning of the word state before we get to political science, so the logical thing to have here is a disambiguation page.

172: It is very difficult to have a "concise encyclopedic overview" of the term state when you conflate Ohio with France. As it stands this article is a content fork of Sovereign state.

I think this article should be reverted to a disambiguation page. The disambig should have been moved, not just blanked over. — Blue-Haired Lawyer 17:28, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

No need to open my sock draw then. OK, I shall revert it and trust I'm not being too hasty. Before reverting, I shall paste a copy of sovereign state over the current content, so that they can be diff'ed if required. --catslash (talk) 22:56, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
Done it. The diff'ing idea doesn't work very well, there's too many changes and extra material in the sovereign state content for diff to do a good job.--catslash (talk) 23:08, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

Hi all - 172 asked me to take a look here, so I thought I'd give my thoughts. It seems to me that the first 6 definitions of "state" provided by Blue-Haired Lawyer above are pretty much irrelevant, because none of them is an encyclopedic meaning - they are simply meanings of the word. Nonetheless, there are obviously other meanings of the word, and there ought to be a disambiguation page. There seem to be two possibilities for this:

  1. State (disambiguation) as the disambiguation page, and State covering the generic political entity; or
  2. State as the disambiguation page, with the article on the generic political entity going at another location.

It seems to me that the question between these two possibilities is ultimately not especially important, and there's no particular reason to get worked up about it one way or another. I'd say my preference would be for Option #1, but I don't think it matters that much.

If, however, there is a strong sentiment that State should be the disambugation page, there is also another question, which is - "what should the article about the political entity be called?" I think 172 presents some fairly cogent reasons why Sovereign state is problematic - not all states are sovereign. An example: the Kingdom of Ireland before 1784 was certainly a state, in that it had, by that point, a monopoly on the legitimate use of force, and so forth. On the other hand, it was certainly not sovereign, because it was legally dependent on the Kingdom of Great Britain - the Irish parliament could only enact legislation with approval from Westminster. As such, moving it to something like State (political entity), or the like, would seem appropriate. I think this is an awkward solution, because State (political entity) is an awkward title. I also think that this meaning of "state" is probably a primary meaning, so this is unnecessary. Nonetheless, this should all be done not through deleting pages that currently exist, but through moving articles. john k (talk) 02:21, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

I'll add - from the disambiguation page, it's pretty clear that the political meaning is the dominant encyclopedic meaning of the term. The whole first section of it concerns political meanings. This is followed by an obscure printing term, and then a bunch of proper nouns, none of them especially famous (and, for the most part, taking their names from the political meaning of the word). Then we've got some scientific, theological, etc., terms of art. The only possibly competitive meaning, I think, would be state of matter - but I really think that the political meaning is basically the dominant one here. But if everyone prefers to keep the disambiguation page at State, I don't think that's such a big deal either. john k (talk) 02:25, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

The problem is there is no single political meaning. I think 172's content is valuable, but it should either be merged with existing articles or set up with a new title - probably the former. Johnbod (talk) 04:29, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean. Obviously there is no single meaning, but there is certainly a single concept which ought to have an article. Likely it should be merged with the Sovereign state content, but I agree with 172 that we shouldn't act as though a state must be sovereign. john k (talk) 04:40, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
John, thanks so much for your feedback ... To address some of Catslash and Johnbod's concerns, I have restored the original disambiguation link. [2] 172 | Talk 05:19, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

I know there has been some contention here. I hope that the creation of a disambiguation page resolves most of the conflicts. I think that as it stands this is a good article. It has a nice balance between the history of the state and different theoretical approaches to the state.

Unfortunately, I have no time to contribute to this article right now. I do have some suggestions. First, I think it would be good to flesh out the section on the city-state. This would require looking to archeologists and people like Karl Wittvogel who have studied the rise of the first city-states in the Fertile Crescent. It would also involve more discussion of the different constitutions Aristotle and Plato described, and put their theoretical views in the historical context of Greek city states. Ditto Cicero and other Roman debates about the Roman constitution, in their historical context ... and then a little discussion of how later advocates of democracy looked back to the Greek and Roman experiences for ideas.

For the Middle Ages, there should be more discussion of Kantorowicz. Also, following Marx, some anthropologists distinguish between centralized tributary states (e.g. the Islamic Caliphates and Mongolian Empire) and decentralized tributary states (e.g. feudal Europe).

For the Modern state, I'd like to see a separate section on the views of machiaveli, Locke, Hobbes and Roussau - still keeping them in their historical contexts but really getting at what is at stake in their different notions of the state. The history section would benefit from a discussion of the book, The Great Arch and the concept of @state formation."

Finally, there are important views of anthropologists that ought to be included. The classic positions are Morton fried in The Evolution of Political Society and Ronald Cohen and Elman Service's Origins of the State. Anthropologists are essential to making the article less Eurocentric - I am not questioning the importance of the experience of Europe, only the importance of drawing on a greater diversity of case-studies. There are two volumes that would be extremely helpful here:

  • Claessen, Henri J.M. and Peter Skalnik, eds. The Early state, The Hague ; New York : Mouton, c1978.
  • Claessen, Henri J.M. and Peter Skalnik, eds. The Study of the state, The Hague ; New York : Mouton, c1981.

I apologize that I cannot do this work myself, but these are significant views from notable and reliable sources. Anyone who has concerns about this article would do well to get these books from the library and figure out what from them should be incorporated into this article, rather than getting into revert wars. I think the books I suggest really will help make this a great article. in the meantime my congratulations to those who have worked on this, because right now it manages to cover an impressive range of views and kinds of states with great economy. Slrubenstein | Talk 10:17, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

I also think that the "sovereign state" page is problematic. It is true these two articles have a great deal of overlap. I suggest that this article be used for "the state," providing different theories and types. I suggest that the other article be deleted, with material redistributed between this article (on the state) and Sovereignty (on sovereignty) which ought to cover theories specifically about sovereignty and also current debates over divided or partial soveriegnty such as we have with Indian nations in the Americas. Slrubenstein | Talk 10:20, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Please write the [non sovereign] State (political entity) page first, and then discuss whether it should be moved over the State dab. page. 172's content begins A state is a set of institutions ..., having internal and external sovereignty over ... and consists of an edit of the existing sovereign state page. This seems to diminish the argument that the State lebensraum is urgently needed to address the sovereignty technicality. I expect it would take a considerable time to write such an article. --catslash (talk) 12:10, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
I agree. The history sections contains some dubious material as well, & should be imporoved anyway. 172 has now reverted three times to his version, despite all three editors commenting here objecting, before he bought his buddies along. These moves have been cut & pasted out of process, messing up the history. I will call on a specialist admin to sort this out, & I would suggest 172 then applies for a WP:RM in the proper way. Johnbod (talk) 12:30, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
I find it insulting and unnecessary to be referred to as 172's "buddy." I openly stated that I was here because 172 asked me to look at it. I am not a crony of 172, whom I have never met, and haven't even dealt with on wikipedia for a few years now. I agree with you that 172 should not have done a cut and paste move. I also agree with 172 and Slrubenstein that we ought to disentangle "the state" from "sovereignty." Anyway, I'm sick of gratuitous accusations of cronyism. john k (talk) 13:50, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
Alright, alright - I wasn't implying a close personal relationship. But you were brought to this page by him, as you quite rightly disclosed. Johnbod (talk) 15:26, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
John Kenney is one of the most respected Wikipedians and a real scholar. The fact that a few people agree does not mean there is cronyism - it may actually mean that there is some good idea they agree on. I can see an article on "the state" and I can see an article on "sovereignty" but the article on "sovereign state" seems like it is turning a colloquial phrase into a n encyclopedia topic. I have also heard people refer to "the great state of ...." so what do we do, create an article Great state? That is ridiculous. Our articles should follow the scholarship. There is a great deal of scholarship on "the state" and "states" and so we need an article State to provide an account of all that scholarhip. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:35, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
A search for "sovereign state" on Google Scholar produces 49,000 articles. It's not just a colloquial phrase. — Blue-Haired Lawyer 17:20, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
Nobody is arguing that we don't need at least one article to cover the topic. "Sovereign state" is not "a colloquial phrase" for lawyers, historians, and indeed most people. 172's methods of proceeding so far have not been helpful for discussing how to produce the best result here - and his version of the article is also very far from providing "an account of all that scholarship". I have suggested what he should do above, though he should also try to improve his version first, and consider how to handle the editing history, as most of it comes from sovereign state. Since 172 says [3] he is "no longer too skilled with the inner politics of Wikipedia", WP:MOVE, WP:CANVAS and WP:NPA are suggested as a quick refresher course. Johnbod (talk) 17:28, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
The editing history does not come from sovereign state. When I drafted that content (back in 2005 or 2006), I wrote it on the state article. That page was later moved to sovereign state. That move was ill advised. The content on the overarching concept of the state belongs back on the main article, not on sovereign state. As John Kenney and Steve Rubenstein explain clearly, while there is no single definition of the word, the political meaning is the dominant encyclopedic use of the term. Moreover, there is a single concept of the state (the political meaning of the term), which ought to have its own article and cannot be addressed in full under the term "sovereign state."
On a side note, I think you owe John Kenney, Steven Rubenstein, and me a more genuine apology for the "buddies" remark. I asked for their contributions because they are respected editors and highly capable scholars. I do not know them personally. Nor have they always agreed with me over the years. For that reason, I solicit their advice, as I can trust them to examine my work—or that of anyone else—in a critical, constructive fashion.
I would like to reiterate John's summary. We currently have two options:
  1. State (disambiguation) as the disambiguation page, and State covering the generic political entity; or
  2. State as the disambiguation page, with the article on the generic political entity going at another location.
I prefer the first option, as do John Kenney and Steve Rubenstein. To address some of your concerns, I am prepared to compromise and accept the proposal Steve made on my user page. [4] We can keep state as a disambiguation, and addressing the political meaning of the term on state (political). 172 | Talk 02:22, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Exactly - so it does come from sovereign state, ex "state", just as I said. The edit history was moved when the page move was done. Basic stuff. Johnbod (talk) 00:03, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
172, in terms of editing history, I think Johnbod's main point was that you did a cut and paste move, which isn't appropriate. If we do decide to have State be about the political term, this should be accomplished by moving Sovereign state to that location, and moving State to State (disambiguation), not by cut and paste moves. Beyond that, I think everyone needs to chill out, and that Johnbod, in particular, is being unnecessarily nasty about all this. Can I propose that, for the moment, we return State to its status as a disambiguation page, move Sovereign state to State (political entity) or some other title that is acceptable to 172, and then allow work to improve that article. Once any such work is complete, we can revisit the question of whether the political meaning is a primary topic. john k (talk) 05:11, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks John. Please go ahead and make the changes you propose above. Steve Rubenstein had some excellent suggestions for improving the article. Hopefully, once the moves are complete, we can start focusing on the changes he proposes shortly. 172 | Talk 11:23, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
John's proposal sounds very reasonable and practical, and seems to take into account everyone's concerns. John, please go ahead and make these changes, and thn we can get back to work on making State (politics) a better article. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:10, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
John, are we ready to make those moves? At the moment Wikipedia does not have a working entry on the state. Someone needs to take action soon. This concept is so fundamental the site's hardly a functioning encyclopedia without one. 172 | Talk 19:52, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

List of federal states[edit]

I don't care to get into the "to dab or not to dab" discussion above so if State ends up being merged with sovereign state or whatever, then this segment of discussion will become redundant.

As part of the disambiguation though (if it is to remain so), I've listed how the term state might be used in a localised form in many parts of the English-speaking world--that is, to refer a component state in a federation. All up there is about 12 sub-entries, topped with the State (administrative division), so the navigator can find a specific group of states, or reach the broader concept. The list was removed and replaced with the following entry in order to sum up the list:

  • State (administrative division), a component state of a federal state

This is a good call--apart from the wording, because not all states in this sense are part of a federation--and I'd support it, but it doesn't seem to stick that way. Before long, U.S. state starts popping up there, and that just takes you right back to specifics. Editors can voice their thoughts here if they like, but if you have one you have all.

As a side note, I removed the disputed statement tag on the entry for the United States--I know what the argument is there, and it's the same for all twelve federations in the list (the US isn't some unique anomaly; it's the same as any other federal state). You can change the followup on main entry (State (administrative division) if you can phrase it more suitably. Night w (talk) 12:43, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

Assertions of 'federation' -- do they need citations?[edit]

I have a question about the twelve assertions that start with "A federated state of ..." on this disambig page. I understand that, per policy, it is not normally necessary to add verifiable citations to disambig pages. However, here we are not merely disambiguating the word state, we are making an assertion about that particular state, through the use of the word federated. I am not familiar with the detailed nature of the state/national political relationship in each of these twelve instances, but it does seem we are making an unverified assertion that, in all cases, it is a federation relationship. Is this true? By what source can we claim this? Or ought we just eliminate the assertions entirely by removing the federated claim? Thoughts welcome. N2e (talk) 17:40, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

I see what you mean. The word "federated", however, is the key word mentioned--it's what defines the kind of state it's referring to, which is what the dab page is meant to do. Can you propose an alternative term with which to replace it that might avoid this problem? Night w (talk) 10:04, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
In my reading of Wikipedia:Disambiguation the 12 listings are not appropriate for this disambiguation page. Nor should the second link to Federation be included (nor the assertion "usually"), all of this information should be available on the unambiguous page State (administrative division). If the information is not on the unambiguous page, then talking about it on the Disambiguation page would not be correct, as we are not removing disambiguation "term can be associated with more than one topic". If the information is on the unambiguous page it is not needed here, as it is there. Jeepday (talk) 22:19, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
I added those entries to the list, but I completely agree that none of them should be mentioned in this page at all. The State (administrative division) covers all of them completely. The reason I added them--further details in the section above this--is that it never stays that way. Because of one common useage of the "state" in Anglospheric federations to refer to federated subdivisions, before long, "U.S. state" pops up in there, shortly followed by "Mexican state", and so on. If one looks back at the comments made alongside actions on the history page, some editors bring up arguments such as this:
U.S. States are not administrative divisions of a larger government. it's the other way around. the federal government is an administrative conglomeration of smaller states
...therefore such editors feel that State (administrative division) doesn't refer to this kind of state. My adding those entries to the list was an attempt to satisfy those arguments. I'd welcome removing the list entirely, even support it--so long as all of them are removed and it stays that way. Perhaps someone can propose a differently worded supplementary to define the State (administrative division) that satisfies the federal element. Or perhaps a alternate title to the said page altogether...? Night w (talk) 05:52, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
I removed the list and changed "usually to "occasionally", there may be a better word that does not attempt to assert a value, but that is the one that came to mind, I imagine someone will change it to a better word. Jeepday (talk) 23:12, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
(outdent) I tend to agree with this solution, at least for now. I take that consensus to be that the State disambig page only disambigs down to the level of State (administrative subdivision), and not below, and further detailing and clarification may/should take place on the State (administrative division) page. I will attempt to work under this assumption for now and make improvements to both pages.
Of course, other editors (or myself, at a later time, when my future self may not agree with my present self) may choose to reopen the discussion on this disambig page. After all, this is the English Wikipedia, and in the English-speaking world, the term state is very frequently used to refer to one of the U.S. states (of which, as Night w points out, U.S. States are not administrative divisions of a larger government. it's the other way around. the federal government is an administrative conglomeration of smaller states) and also to subnational states in other countries. In other words, the mileage of other editors may vary. N2e (talk) 19:53, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Further discussion of State (administrative division) and potential renaming of that article[edit]

Since we seem to have ended the discussion on Citations and moved on to categories of states -- in this case states that are often, but not necessarily correctly, classified as State (administrative division) -- I have started a new section to contain that discussion (some of which occurred before the creation of this section heading, but is otherwise unchanged, except for indention). N2e (talk) 20:30, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

[Repeating a comment that ended the previous section:] "in the English-speaking world, the term state is very frequently used to refer to one of the U.S. states (of which, as Night w points out, U.S. States are not administrative divisions of a larger government. it's the other way around. the federal government is an administrative conglomeration of smaller states) and also to subnational states in other countries." N2e (talk) 19:53, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Which is why I think that the title of the article State (administrative division) should be changed completely to reflect the federal aspect of states of this nature.
Of the sovereign states that subdivide their country into so-called "states", only Palau is unitary rather than federal--Which means the appendix "administrative division" is only relevant to this one individual country. The rest of such sovereign states (12 in number, as before listed), don't really fit adequately under that heading. The article itself addresses states of this kind (i.e. federated states), but the title pertains only to states as administrative regions or provinces, which there is only one case of. Palau is perhaps the exception rather than the rule.
If anyone backs me up here, I'll bring this proposal to the talk page on the associated article. We should re-word State (administrative subdivison) to better incorporate the subject that we're trying to address, and in doing so we get rid of any "technically-this-and-that" problems on this page. Any thoughts...? Night w (talk) 03:54, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
What would you propose as the rename? Jeepday (talk) 20:52, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
This, maybe. I'd be open to alternatives. Listed here alongside sovereign state in order to distinguish:
Sovereign state, a sovereign political entity in international public law
Federated state, a community forming part of a federal union
Given that the anomaly of Palau's situation would not fit under that title, it might instead require creating a new article...and moving all the relevant information from State (administrative division) to the new page. According to that article, I believe Burma also uses the word state to refer to its subdivisions in English (altho they have their own word for it in Burmese of course). Night w (talk) 04:26, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
Since there doesn't seem to be any objections, I'll start making those moves. Night w (talk) 07:59, 3 October 2009 (UTC)
Does this work? I'd welcome any improvements. Night w (talk) 11:38, 3 October 2009 (UTC)
Sorry I was away from the discussion for several days. Had I got back before c. 29 Sep, I would have said: "Per Night w's suggestion above, I think I agree with the idea that the existing title of the article is not correct; I'm less sure I know what we should do to fix it, but am happy to enter the fray with you to discuss it."N2e
But now that I have returned to the discussion (a bit late, I'm afraid) on 3 Oct, after the old State (administrative subdivison) article has already been renamed to Federated state, I can only say "Good on ya, Night w!" I have not had time to carefully consider all the changes, and no doubt the article will evolve over time as other editors add to it, but I think the general direction is great, and will be much less of a muddle to build on than was the State (administrative subdivison) moniker. Thanks for being bold. N2e (talk) 20:41, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

Constituent state[edit]

I just came across this article stub: Constituent state. It's badly written, uncited and very vague. It needs substantial work, but I'm also not sure about the subject it's referring to... Has anyone ever heard the term constituent state used? The text on the article seems to be referring to a multitude of different kinds of polities. I was going to propose its deletion, but I think it might be able to provide the solution to the Palau problem I talked about in the above section.

So...if it is a viable term, can it refer to states as administrative divisions? Or is it used as a more general term that can also include federated states? I also like the reference to the Somali states and Cyprus, altho the use on those could be controversial. I thought I'd check to see what others think about this before I make a move on it... Night w (talk) 03:27, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

My initial reaction is the same as yours: propose an AfD. However, if you can come up with any verifiable, reliable secondary sources that indicate provenance for the term, and can use it to address the issue of subdivisions called states that are not ture federated states, then keep it. Ping me on my talk page if it ever comes up for AfD. Cheers.N2e (talk) 05:50, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

Further discussion of State (administrative division)[edit]

which is currently Federated state. I don't ask to rename that article, but next to/under "Federated state, a political entity forming part of a federal sovereign state", could we add "aka State (administrative division)", "i.e. a subnational entity", "which includes a list of such states" or something like that?

I freely admit I'm not the sharpest pencil in the class, so when looking for an article that'll lead me to U.S. state, I was confused as to which door would take me there. I clicked United States, and found the link in that article. Then I realized there might be discussion here. I understand not wanting bias or a long list by including US, Mexican, etc. state.

I would've understood had there been any of the suggestions above. I know the title/description doesn't cover the full definition, but like redirects, a less precise but more layman's definition/title in addition would help readers and editors like me. Terrierhere (talk) 17:16, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

If you wish to discuss the content of Federated state it would be better to do so on its talkpage. It might also be more useful to be specific about what changes you want. — Blue-Haired Lawyer 20:37, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
It's fine, you're on the right talk page. You want to change the attached definition on the entry "Federated state" to something a little less confusing. The definition needs to be one sentence, short and simple. Do you think adding a word like "constituent" or "division" in there might assist? Those are the only words I can think of that would fit. "Administrative division", in most cases, is incorrect...which is why that title was changed. Night w (talk) 03:56, 26 January 2010 (UTC)


  • "Federated state, a political entity forming part of a federal sovereign state (includes a list of states)" or
  • "Federated state, a political entity (includes list) forming part of a federal sovereign state"

I understand wanting to keep it short. Constituent or division instead of "part of" wouldn't have told me the list of states is in there. So how about saying it plainly but succinctly? Right now, all 5 of the top links look like they might contain such a list. Terrierhere (talk) 06:21, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

Just to add, and hoping it helps: I'm not trying to refine its definition, just add that the page includes a list of states, like some links noting that they're (disambiguation) pages themselves. Many people will be seeking a subnational state of a particular country, and some will have trouble pinpointing the link. Terrierhere (talk) 16:36, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

I see. Only there's also a list of "states" (or at least a link to) at the top link, Sovereign state—just not federative ones (not the kind you were looking for). We can't use the word "state" because we're already trying to differentiate the things that might be. So what about:
(includes a list of these entities), or just
(includes a list) on the end
Or if you have a better one, go for it. Night w (talk) 04:40, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Went with the second one. When I asked myself, "A list of what?" "Of federated states, of course" was my answer. :) The addition is a little pointer without being garish. Thanks. Terrierhere (talk) 20:37, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Not moved. Jafeluv (talk) 21:36, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

StateState (disambiguation) — Clear primary topic — Blue-Haired Lawyer t 18:31, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

Being the editor who originally proposed moving State to State (polity), it apt that I should be the one to propose moving them back. I though than as now that the word "state" is ambiguous but, it is clear to me now that State (polity) is the primary topic. This can be easily seen from examining the few articles whose titles are follow the format State (dasam. brackets):

State (theology), State (printmaking), State (physics), State (MBTA station), State (magazine), State (functional analysis), State (controls), and State (computer science).

Blue-Haired Lawyer t 18:54, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

Support - this is, indeed, the primary topic. john k (talk) 22:57, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
Support - As long as a link to the Sovereign state article remains at the top of the page like it is currently on the polity article. BritishWatcher (talk) 23:30, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
Given that the second sentence of state (polity)'s new lead refers to sovereign state, is there really a need for the hatnore any more?. — Blue-Haired Lawyer t 01:05, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Its currently pipelinked in that sentence, some may think its just to the Sovereignty article. Sovereign state has by far the most page views of all these different "state" articles, a clear mention of it in the hatnote along with the disam page link may be helpful. BritishWatcher (talk) 01:23, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
sovereign state and nation state and federated state are merely special cases of state (polity). john k (talk) 00:43, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Indeed. I should have mentioned that one of the reasons I'm proposing this now is the new lead at State (polity). My ultimate plan is to have sections in the state article dealing with the sovereign states, nation states and federated states. — Blue-Haired Lawyer t 01:05, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
And what will you do with the actual federated states, in Australia, India, and the United States? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:05, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
I am not so sure it is such a good idea to list every federal union on the disambiguation page on the basis that their constituent states are called states. It would swamp the page if the list was comprehensive and simply duplicate the list at Federated state. To give a counter point: in the Republic of Ireland we frequently use the phrase "the state" to referring to the Republic. Should we list the Republic of Ireland on the disambiguation page as well? In any event there will still be a disambiguation page and a hatnote. — Blue-Haired Lawyer t 16:32, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
And there should be. But the meaning of State in those countries is as much the State governments as the various political and sociological meanings now being unified; we should not impose one dialect upon the world. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:30, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Whether or not this dab is moved, some people will get to it looking for an explanation of "State of New South Wales"; they should have a link which leads them appropriately. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:45, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Indeed and state (polity) should provide them with a generic definition of a state which includes New South Wales, and points them in the direction of Federated state. But surely the notion of a federated state is both subordinate and subsequent to the notion of a state. — Blue-Haired Lawyer t 21:05, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Depends. A priori? Certainly. As a matter of experience? That depends on whose experience. An American will know the State of New York before she has any interest in political philosophy. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:31, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The word has a multitude of meanings, all of which are very different subjects in different areas of knowledge. Moving this away from disambiguation could result in a great number of misguided readers. On top of that, according to traffic stats, State (polity) does not have any kind of majority at present. It is extremely questionable whether most readers coming here are looking for the generic concept of a "state"; I'd argue that a large number are probably looking for either of the two more specific links. Nightw 21:56, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
    The reason why State (polity) gets so few readers is because it is so poorly named. This is precisely the reason it should be moved back here. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 20:50, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose - "State" may refer to many encyclopedic topics in many fields. For example, State (physics) is very important in that field. Therefore the topic is not limited to polity.  — Amakuru (talk) 11:24, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
State (physics) is a disambiguation page. This hardly says much for it being a primary topic. — Blue-Haired Lawyer t 12:05, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
Actually, it suggests, correctly, that "state" in physics has multiple meanings, each likely to have some readers. This supports the case that there is no primary meaning. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:08, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
Agree with Septentrionalis. "State" is first and foremost an English word, which has lent itself to a wide variety of encyclopedic topics. Several of these are in polity, several in physics and several in other disciplines. None are overwhelmingly more important than the others, however.  — Amakuru (talk) 11:34, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Strong support -- Petri Krohn (talk) 20:50, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. As long as history, politics and law are not the primary specialization of this encyclopedia, state (polity) is not the primary topic. IMO there is no primary topic here, if anything, the Aristotelian category is a much better candidate. Colchicum (talk) 01:56, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Please stop following my edit or I will take you to the AE circus and request an interaction ban. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 02:34, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
Please stop beating your wife. Go ahead, I mean, and we will see where it will get you. A in AE stays for something, no? Also see vexatious litigation. Colchicum (talk) 02:41, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Disagree that State (polity) is the primary topic. --catslash (talk) 16:56, 28 August 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Nation State[edit]

If State (polity) is going to be moved here and be the primary article, is there really a need for the Nation-state article? Whilst i agree there is a need for the separate article on Sovereign states, the nation state one seems to basically just be stuff that either belongs on the main state article (currently State (polity) or on Sovereign state. BritishWatcher (talk) 23:39, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

Yes, there is reason to retain, except for those who attempt to make this complex of articles a platform in the politics of the United Kingdom. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:54, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
This has nothing to do with the politics of the United Kingdom. Whilst i see the need for an article on sovereign states, it has always seemed strange to have one on nation states too when it is mostly covered by the other two articles (polity)/(sovereign state). BritishWatcher (talk) 00:47, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
The nation-state is an important historical concept, if nothing else. john k (talk) 00:44, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Maybe it might be better to have this discussion over at Talk:Nation state. — Blue-Haired Lawyer t 00:53, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
If there is going to be a section covering it on this page and then linking to the main article on it then that is ok. Just seemed strange to have the separate articles when it should be included on the (polity) page. BritishWatcher (talk) 01:12, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Stats: polity articles v the rest[edit]

Statistics for May 2010
Sovereign state 58,594
State of matter 27,104
Nation state 26,024
State 24,855
Quantum state 11,181
Federated state 9,476
State (polity) 8,179
State (computer science) 3,518
Medical state 3,465
Rechtsstaat 1,743
Thermodynamic state 1,225
State (physics) 838
Chemical state 624
State (magazine) 525
Mental state (disambiguation) 502
State (printmaking) 481
State Magazine 385

Whatever about anything else, the polity articles deserve more prominence than the rest. — Blue-Haired Lawyer t 01:36, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

What about having all associated links as indented bullet points underneath? reflect the purpose of the article. Nightw 19:43, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
You have missed State of matter, which had 27,104 views in May, and Quantum state with 11,181. Suggesting that the physics topics are not overwhelmingly less viewed than any of the polity ones.  — Amakuru (talk) 11:39, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
You're right I had missed those. On this basis we should give them more prominence on the page. — Blue-Haired Lawyer t 12:16, 26 August 2010 (UTC)


I have just noticed that the main entry for the non-political meaning of state is called Status. I have included this as the primary meaning, on the top of the list. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 18:42, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

State of this and that[edit]

I hop nobody minds me extracting this discussion from the move proposal, it was getting kind of crowed. — Blue-Haired Lawyer t 03:12, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

And what will you do with the actual federated states, in Australia, India, and the United States? Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:05, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

I am not so sure it is such a good idea to list every federal union on the disambiguation page on the basis that their constituent states are called states. It would swamp the page if the list was comprehensive and simply duplicate the list at Federated state. To give a counter point: in the Republic of Ireland we frequently use the phrase "the state" to referring to the Republic. Should we list the Republic of Ireland on the disambiguation page as well? — Blue-Haired Lawyer t 16:32, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
Please refrain from adding links to "States of this of that". The hidden note was the result of discussion; please don't remove it without consensus. The generic link to Federated state is there. There is no need to have specific links to a dozen federations. Nightw 21:42, 24 August 2010 (UTC)
That link will not be sufficient for most readers looking for an explanation of the States of India; and invisible notes - which I did not remove - are utterly useless to the reader. If you are going to claim consensus, please supply a link to the discussion - it may persuade someone, as bald claims of consensus will not. And do remember our policy: Past decisions are open to challenge and are not binding, and one must realize that such changes are often reasonable. Thus, "according to consensus" and "violates consensus" are not valid rationales for accepting or rejecting proposals or actions. While past "extensive discussions" can guide editors on what influenced a past consensus, editors need to re-examine each proposal on its own merits, and determine afresh whether consensus either has or has not changed.
On the substance, I would not include any federated states with components which are not usually called States in English - thus, despite our title, not Austria and certainly not Germany. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 01:59, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
Your additions have been opposed. Per WP:EP, which states: "Discussion is ... called for if someone indicates disagreement with your edit (either by reverting your edit and/or raising an issue on the talk page). A BOLD, revert, discuss cycle is used on many pages where changes might often be contentious," you should commit yourself to discussing said additions instead of instigating an edit conflict.
No, you didn't remove the note, but you did ignore it without providing an explanation. You've also overlooked what I've said above. I didn't claim "consensus"; the "discussion" I referred to was between myself and two other editors last year. As for your reasoning, what are the states of Germany called in English? Or are you suggesting that we wouldn't list States of Mexico because an English speaker would have typed in "estado"? I'd rather argue that they would have typed "states of Mexico", "Mexican states", or something similar. Even following that pattern, it would still result in a list of around 7 or 8 specific links. Nightw 19:14, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
The components of Germany are Länder, Laender, or Lands. I think the second is actually most common in English, but the correctness brigade will insist on the first. To speak of Bavaria as a state is an anachronism. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 23:31, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
Bavaria is most commonly called a "state" in English. In the English version of Bavarian government's website, on the homepage alone, the word "state" appears a total of 20 times (here). The official translation of the state's name is the "Free State of Bavaria" (here). Nightw 06:29, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
The list we previously maintained is here. Nightw 19:56, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

(unindent) We are unlikely to call Bavaria a country in English so we call it a state because it is part of a federation. By only listing countries:

  • where they speak English as a first or second language, or
  • where they word for a constituent state of their federation has a common root with the English word state,

we are guilty of wp:systemic bias. — Blue-Haired Lawyer t 00:20, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

Such as Brazil? I am restricting myself to countries where the components are normally called states in English; that's not systemic bias, that's writing English. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:50, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
That would see added Australia, Austria, Brazil, Burma, Germany, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Federated States of Micronesia, Nigeria, Palau, Sudan, United States, and Venezuela. Overkill? Certainly. Nightw 06:37, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
Not Austria; not Germany. Possibly Burma, but not under Federated state; no federal structure functions in Burma. Overkill? On a dab page? Not if it gets the reader where she wants to go and not compared to many dab pages. But there is always the possibility of a subordinate dab page; compare Miller (disambiguation) and its link to the list of people named Miller - and do observe that one is as long as, and the other much longer than, the single page proposed here. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:12, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
We have a subordinate dab page for federated state. It's at Federated state. The article is mostly a list. — Blue-Haired Lawyer t 02:01, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
Your absurd claim that Austrian and German states are not commonly called "states" in English has not been backed up by reliable sources. Nightw 21:48, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

Ignoring considerations to which federated state states we should include and which we shouldn't, for a moment. I find it highly unlikely that anyway would type "state" in the search box and press go and expect to be sent directly to an article on U.S. states. In so far as ambiguity might arise by looking for state, insofar as the polity articles are concerned in any case, ambiguity arises primarily between state (polity), sovereign state and federated state. Above I've argued that that the first of these is a primary topic because it covers the other two. As far as this discussion goes, I don't see how providing lists of federated states is even vaguely relevant to this article. People living in Alabama might use the phrase "the state" when referring to Alabama, but we've hardly going to list Alabama. — Blue-Haired Lawyer t 14:49, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

We don't need to list Alabama; U.S. state leads there - and, more importantly, explains why and in what sense Alabama is a State.
But we should cater to all readers, not just those within the provincial imagination of Blue-Haired Lawyer. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 15:54, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
Making insults is typcially a sign that you're losing an argument. This is a disambiguation page, not a list of states. That's done elsewhere. — Blue-Haired Lawyer t 18:57, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
Except when it is a response to ownership behavior, as here - the assertion that X "can't imagine" a large class of editors, and therefore needs supply no reasons they shouldn't be served. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:40, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
Pmanderson, you are continually being disruptive in your behaviour. Please familiarise yourself with Wikipedia's editing policy, and attain consensus before making additions that have been repeatedly rejected. Nightw 21:46, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
On the contrary, it is your behavior which is disruptive. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:50, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
Just because you're not let have your own way doesn't mean that everybody else is an wp:owner. You could always actually try reading this policy before you start sloshing labels around. You might also have a look at wp:point. — Blue-Haired Lawyer t 02:01, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
Have you read WP:POINT yourself? It is quite clear, and quite limited: it is about the temptation may arise to try to discredit the rule or interpretation thereof by, in one's view, enforcing it consistently, and gives several variants, of which If you think someone unjustifiably removed "unsourced" content, remov[ing] all apparently unsourced content on the page is typical. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:09, 27 August 2010 (UTC)


Federated state (disambiguation) has been nominated for deletion. — Blue-Haired Lawyer t 18:32, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

Proposed move[edit]

I propose that we move state to state (disambiguation) and move sovereign state to state. That seems like the most common usage. Another possibility would be to move state (polity) to state, because of the significant usage of "state" in the U.S. to mean a U.S. state. But I think that "sovereign state" is the most common meaning of "state" internationally. Of course, with the rise of supranationalism, that could change, as we get to the point where there are no sovereign states. Leucosticte (talk) 16:12, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

Why Sovereign state = State and not State (polity) = State? -- Petri Krohn (talk) 01:21, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
Please note that the user who proposed this move is the sockpuppet of a banned user and is not permitted to edit Wikipedia. As such, this proposal should be ignored. Robofish (talk) 18:49, 30 August 2012 (UTC)


Such radical change should be discussed here.Xx236 (talk) 11:56, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Baltic states[edit]

Any input on the naming rules for The Baltic states? And as a case study, may work well here as well. Problem: The mentioned article is about "The Baltic states", which is a term for grouping countries. University of Western Australia has a clear example of the capitalisation rules for the word "state", which supports the current naming of the mentioned article. "The Baltic States" would traditionally mean that the three countries somehow form a common governing body / form a union, which the Baltic states do not. The current naming practice is also supported by all other wiki articles about the Baltic states, where the S is not capitalised. So it all seems right so far. But then it's all messed up in real life - There are many cases on the internet where "The Baltic States" has been (erroneously?) used. I can understand when States has been used for book titles. But aside from book titles, this seems to be a bigger problem than it seems at first, as in english, especially for an American, reading "The Baltic States" would undoubtedly mean that the three countries form a common governing body. The capitalised version seems to be used a lot online in body text. Just wondering what the consensus on this is. Even the site of the Latvian government seems to be inconsistent in this and often using the capitalised version. The Estonian government's site apparently gets confused as well. The constitutions of the three countries do not say anything about being baltic states, so it's hard to find direct sources. Can this really just be a mistake in spelling? If it is, it's quite a big mistake and with far-reaching consequences. The three countries do not form a union or anything similar to it and would also not want to be seen as a union. SørenKierkegaard (talk) 20:24, 19 February 2018 (UTC)