Abstract

This review of new directions in the American and comparative literatures on the state reveals important intellectual trends that parallel each other quite closely. Both comparativists and Americanists address similar questions about the sources of state authority, and both propose similar answers. Collectively, these scholars and others are retheorizing the state-developing a suppler, multidimensional picture of the state's origins, structure, and consequences-to shed light on the reasons for the state's stubborn refusal to cede the stage. The emerging understanding of the state that the authors describe provides a framework not only for revisiting the state in the international realm but also, in dialogue with recent Americanist studies, for revising and deepening the understanding of the state's paradoxical role in American political development and finally setting aside the assumption of the United States as stateless. In this emerging view, American state building, strength, and institutional capacity form through links with society, not necessarily through autonomy from society. But such distinctive patterns provide insights for comparative studies, too, for instance, in respect to the relationship between the state and welfare policy across nations.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3338
Print ISSN
0043-8871
Pages
pp. 547-588
Launched on MUSE
2009-06-17
Open Access
No
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