Paths towards Pluralist Democracy: Liberal versus Radical Interpretations



A crucial gap in sociology in recent decades has been the lack of a general theory of the state and power or of the state and social development.1 There are several reasons for this: one is the demise of Marxist political sociology with its unifying idea that the state is the instrument of class power. Marxist theory has been replaced, if at all, by Foucauldian or constructivist ideas on the one hand, or institutionalist theories on the other — neither of which have produced comparative-historical and systematic accounts of the variety among contemporary states. A second reason for this gap is the popular idea that the state’s powers have diminished in recent decades because of globalization and neoliberalism. On this view, the state’s powers are undermined by a globalizing economy, and if the state is eroding at the expense of larger economic forces, it becomes difficult to see the state as the locus of power.


Civil Society Advanced Society Radical Account Liberal View Infrastructural Power 
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Copyright information

© Ralph Schroeder 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OxfordUK

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