Conclusion: Social Action for Education, the State and the Global Network

  • Ashok Swain


Since the beginning of the contemporary state system, a transition has taken place in accepting the maxim that the state should render the prevailing “rules of the game” in each society (Migdal 1988). The state is unique among social institutions and strives to ensure the dominance of its rules over other social institutions such as the family clan, race, caste, tribe, community or market. The ability to exercise domination over other social forces has been a defining characteristic of the state. The works of Karl Marx and Max Weber, which have been the foundation of two main traditions in modern social science, argue that the state as an institution monopolizes the legitimate use of violence and organized coercion in society (Grindle 1996). However, the rules that structure the interaction of the state and other components of society are always being contested and often being restructured. States as well as societies vary in their abilities to restructure the interaction process in a normal way. Their struggle and accommodation produce a range of outcomes over time (Migdal 1994). The state may dominate the social forces altogether and penetrate at all levels, it may completely fail to influence the society and collapse, and finally, the state and social forces may indulge in incorporating each others’ concerns and demands.


Civil Society Social Movement Education Policy Social Initiative Social Force 
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© UNRISD 2005

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  • Ashok Swain

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