Structure and Agency in State Theory

  • Paul Wetherly


The instrumentalist theory of the state is strongly associated with explanation in terms of the role of agency,1 and agency is sometimes counter-posed to structure.2 However we have seen that the role of agency in the instrumental view of the state, far from being counter-posed, is linked in a number of ways to the structural context of behaviour. In setting out an instrumental view of the state agential factors cannot provide plausible explanations on their own. This reflects a more general point that, far from seeing ‘agency’ and ‘structure’ in terms of a dichotomy, it is necessary to elucidate the interrelationship between them. In this chapter we will make explicit the structural dimension of the instrumentalist view, and show how structural explanation can contribute to a fuller explanation of the state within a Marxist perspective.


Depression Income Coherence Assure Expense 


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Copyright information

© Paul Wetherly 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Wetherly
    • 1
  1. 1.Leeds Metropolitan UniversityUK

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