The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book State Theory

State Theory

Putting the Capitalist State in Its Place Bob Jessop
  • Copyright: 1991
  • Dimensions: 6 x 9
  • Page Count: 184 pages
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-00735-9
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-271-00745-8
  • Co-publisher: Polity Press
“This book makes a very substantial contribution to the literature on the state. It constitutes a magisterial tour through the development of state theory in the 1970s and 1980s, engaging virtually every significant current of theoretical work on the state in the period (from a number of different national literatures, not just Anglo-American): Marxist structuralism, German state-derivation approaches, the French regulation school, discourse theories, statist analyses. What is particularly striking about the book is that Jessop so systematically pursues a positive, theoretical project of his own; the text is thus not a series of endless, tedious synoptic reviews, but an energetic critical engagement with other work for purposes of establishing the central elements of his own, developing, perspective.”

This volume develops a novel approach to state theory. It offers a comprehensive review of the existing literature on the state and sets a new agenda for state research.

Four central themes define the scope of the book: an account of the bases of the operational autonomy of the state; the need to develop state theory as part of a more general social theory; the possibilities of explaining "capitalist societalization" without assuming that the economy is the ultimate determinate of societal dynamics; and a defense of the method of articulation in theory construction.

In developing these issues, Bob Jessop both builds on and goes well beyond the view presented in his earlier books, The Capitalist State (1982) and Nicos Poulantzas (1985). The result is a highly original statement that should stimulate much debate. The volume confirms the author's standing as one of the most important postwar Marxist state theorists.

Bob Jessop is Professor of Sociology at the University of Lancaster.

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