Pipers Woerterbuch zur Politik

Authors: Nohlen
Summary: The approximately 3,300 word entry treats civil theories of the state separately from Marxian approaches, while both are characterized as concerned with the relationship between the state and civil society (which includes the economic realm).The civil entry reviews the Hegelian roots of civil theories of the state and engages the work of Boeckenfoerde for a modern conception. The Marxian state theory entry reviews extensively the consequences of the theory of the dominance of the economic realm over the political sphere in Marxian analysis. Civil state theories view the political as the dominant sphere and normatively and empirically study the space of freedom the state does or should leave to civil society. All civil state theories, as the entry argues, are in that sense based on Hegel s conceptualization of the state and civil society as two separate social spheres. The entry argues, however, that a consistent civil theory of the state no longer exists because modern civil state theorists have noted the increasing interaction between the state and society especially in the economic realm. The entry reviews and quotes extensively the work of Boeckenfoerde , who highlights the dilemma of modern states faced with enormous regulatory and welfare demands while formally unable to truly dominate the economies. Sociological system theorists, interested in comparing institutional arrangements in different countries and reacting to the increasing state-society interdependence, therefore replaced a theory of the state with the analysis of political systems. The entry reviews extensively the alternative Marxian theory that the modes of production determine the structure and function of states, with historical changes in the capitalist mode leading to corresponding changes in forms and functions of states. It also reflects on the class-consequences of capitalism and refers to cyclical and stage theories brought forward in the Marxian tradition to account for reorganization and restructuring of state functions and the occurrence of class conflicts. The entry ends with a discussion of the modification of Marxian state theories by Gramsci who introduced the term historical block to account for historical stages of the economic base-political superstructure relationship.