State, power, administration : Marxist and Foucauldian perspectives on state development in Britain, 1832-1918
This thesis seeks to contribute an original account of state power by reconceptualising the state-civil society distinction through the category of political administration. Through an analysis of the development of the state in Britain between 1832 and 1918 it seeks to show why such a reconceptualisation is necessary and the features which distinguish it from other accounts. This task is performed via an immanent critique of the work of Hegel, Marx and Foucault. It is argued that historical materialism has lost the recognition of the constitutive power of the state found in Hegel and Marx, a recognition which needs to be recuperated in order for an adequate theoretical account of state power to be sustained. From 1832 in Britain this constitutive power was expressed in the development of new administrative mechanisms through which the state ordered and structured civil society. The threefold function of political administration - the fashioning of labour power, the subsumption of struggle and the constitution of legal subjects - place it with law at the heart of the operation of state power, and it is this that political theory in general, and historical materialist theory in particular, need to recognise. The category of political administration is developed through a critique of Foucault's account of administration which, it is argued, lacks an understanding of the political. It is argued that political administration emerges as a response to class struggle and that from 1832 the British state was shaped through this struggle; this use of struggle is counterposed to Foucault's category of resistance.