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Title: Metatheories of the state.
Author: Smith, Mark J.
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1997
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Metatheories of the State is a contribution to reinterpreting contemporary state theory through an account of three leading approaches in recent political theory. Metatheorising, as a form of critical analysis and exegesis, is portrayed as a sensitive exploratory technique which serves as a means of situating social and political theories in terms of their historical and social context as well as in terms of their epistemological and ontological assumptions. This thesis focuses upon three distinctive approaches in the field of state theory through an examination and theoretical reconstruction of key positions in Neo-Pluralism, Neo-Liberalism and Neo-Marxism. Each of the approaches considered is situated and assessed in terms of their epistemological and ontological frame of reference (their position in relationship to approaches within the philosophy of social science), as well as in terms of their contribution to the theorisation of the relationship between the state and society. This thesis addresses the tendency of state theorists to treat the state as the 'horizon' for the constitution of the social order rather than as an object in its own right with its own imperatives, structure and rationale. In each case, the substantive focus of analysis (polyarchic civility for Dahl, catallactic relations for Hayek and processes of societalisation for Jessop) is identified in relation to the state as a boundary or as a set of parameters which limit the operation of, and provide the conditions of possibility of social relations. Finally, this investigation highlights their distinctive models of causality within different accounts of knowledge construction in order to demonstrate the way in which realism is understood in relation to empiricism and idealism in social scientific practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Polyarchy; Catallaxy; Societalisation; Realism Political science Public administration Sociology Human services Philosophy Religion