Being all brilliant philosophers and sociologists, Marx, Weber, and Mitchell demonstrate specific understanding of the state. In fact, precisely these sociologists define political thought of modernism and influence the contemporary sociology greatly. Marx’s The Relation of State and Law to Property, Weber’s Politics as a Vocation, and Mitchell’s The Limits of the State: Beyond Statist Approaches and Their Critics define the state as a complex and structural issue with the wide range of institutes and bureaucratic features.
Considering Marx’s thoughts about the state, it is important to mention his thorough historic approach. Marx analyzes the state from the ancient times as closely connected to property. The first type of property, tribal one, is characteristic feature of Ancient Roman state and further German Empire. Tribal property turns into feudal, corporative, capital invested, and, finally, modern property, “determined by big industry and universal competition” (Marx, “The Relation of State and Law to Property”). Obviously, for Marx, the state is an issue, in which common interests of the rulers are asserted.
Max Weber presents slightly another variant of political theory. For this sociologist, the state is first of all a political association, based on “physical force” (Weber 1). Such factors as obedience, fear, legitimacy, charismatic leadership, and political competition are the most important for the state.
For Timothy Mitchell, the state is not an easy term to define. Analyzing it in historical retrospective, Mitchell proclaims that the term has gone through several crucial ideological transformations, including its appearance as necessity, abandonment as seeking a total science, the return as an actual organization in the XX-th century. The most important issue of the state is its structure, since the state “needs to be analyzed as such a structural effect” (Mitchell 94).
In conclusion, it becomes obvious that all three political thinkers strived to define the essence of the state, its characteristic features in complex through thorough historical approach, and with different aspects to focus on.
- Marx, Karl. “The Relation of State and Law to Property.” Marxist. Web. https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/german-ideology/ch01c.htm
- Mitchell, Timothy. “The Limits of the State: Beyond Statist Approaches and Their Critics.” The American Political Science Review 85.1. (1991): 77-96. Print.
- Weber, Max. Politics as a Vocation. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2004. Print.