Rowman and Littlefield International
The State Tradition in Western Europe

The State Tradition in Western Europe

A Study of an Idea and Institution

By Kenneth Dyson

Publication Date: Feb 2010

Pages 356

ECPR Press

Paperback 9780955820359
£30.00 €41.00 $46.00

Why have continental European societies developed the idea of the abstract impersonal state as the fundamental institution of political rule? Why, on the other hand, has this idea played a relatively insignificant part in the history of English-speaking countries? It is to such questions that this major study is addressed. With clarity and conciseness, Kenneth Dyson examines the fascinating tapestry of thought about public authority that the state tradition represents, and identifies the major individual contributions to that tapestry. In addition to offering a clear conceptualisation of state, he deals with such key issues as the role of the intellectual, the social function of state theories, and the difficulties of accommodating state and democracy.


New Introduction to the ECPR Press Edition by Kenneth Dyson vii

Preface xlv

Introduction: The State as Idea and Institution 1


Chapter 1: The Origins of the State 25

  The Birth of the Modern State 28

   The Characteristics of the Modern State: The

Continental European Perspective 33

  England: An Aberrant Case 36

Chapter 2: The State as a Socio-cultural Phenomenon 48

  The Concepts of State and Society 51

  The Crisis-of-Modernity Polity 58

  From Feudal to Clientelist Polity 60

  The Balanced Parliamentary and Dual Polities 62

   Adversary, Authoritarian Corporatist and

Accommodative Polities 66

  Conclusions 71



Chapter 3: The State and the Intellectuals: Some General Considerations 81

Academic Patrons and Coteries 83

State as Organizing and Integrating Concept 93

Chapter 4: Three Conceptions of the State: Might, Law and Legitimacy 101

The State as Might 101

The State as Law 107

The State as Legitimacy 117

vi contents

Chapter 5: The Historical Development of Theories of the State 135

Society as an Hierarchical Order 139

The Individualistic Conception of Society 140

Society as Community 143

The Idea of the State and Academic Self-Interest 150

Chapter 6: A Comparison of Theories of the State in France and Germany 155

Intellectual Tradition: Similarities and

Cross-Fertilization 157

Intellectual Tradition: Divergence 161

The Debate about Methodology and Political Science 174

Chapter 7: The Word State in the British Intellectual Tradition 186

State and Political Science: After Idealism and

Pluralism 196

State and Philosophy 199



Chapter 8: State as a Tool of Analysis 205

State as a Generalizing, Integrating and

Legitimating Concept 208

The Idea of the State and Depersonalized

Power: The Case of Fascism 214

The Idea of the State: Institution and Purpose 222

The Analytical Distinction between State and

Civil Society: Marxism and the Idea of the State 228

The Idea of the State as a Socio-cultural

Phenomenon 243

Chapter 9: The Idea of the State and Democracy 252

State as a Problem-Creating Concept 254

State as a Problem-Solving Concept 270

Epilogue: The End of the Idea of the State? 282

Bibliography 288

Index of Names 301

Index of Subjects 307

Kenneth Dyson was born in Scarborough, UK, and since 2003 has been Research Professor in the School of European Studies at Cardiff University, Wales. He was appointed Professor of European Studies at the University of Bradford in 1982. He has been Visiting Professor at Konstanz University, Germany, and DAAD Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Free University of Berlin. A founding member and early chair of the Association for the Study of German Politics, Kenneth Dyson also served as founder and chair of the Standing Conference of Heads of European Studies. He was twice chair of the UK Research Assessment Exercise Panel in European Studies. In addition to being a Fellow of the British Academy, he is an Academician of the Learned Society of the Social Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He is also a founding fellow of the Learned Society of Wales. Kenneth Dyson is the author of numerous solo-authored and edited books in comparative European public policy, especially economic policies, in EU studies and in German political studies. Most recently, they include: Elusive Union (1994); The Road to Maastricht (1999, with Kevin Featherstone, voted academic book of the year in 'Choice'); The Politics of the Euro Zone (2000); European States and the Euro (2002); Germany, Europe and the Politics of Constraint (2003, with Klaus Goetz); The Euro at Ten (2008); and Central Banks in the Age of the Euro (2009, with Martin Marcussen). In 2010 he published the two volumes (with Lucia Quaglia) on European Economic Governance and Policies: Commentary on Key Documents, and (with Angelos Sepos) Which Europe? The Politics of Differentiated Integration. He was awarded the German Federal Service Cross (First Class) for services to Anglo-German relations.

Also Recommended