If it didn’t exist we’d have to invent it... Further reflections on the ontological status of the state
British Journal of Sociology
GB : Wiley-Blackwell
487 - 491 p.
State, political ontology, ‘as if realism’, critical realism, strategic-relational approach, ontological stratification
In this brief response to Bob Jessop's probing yet sympathetic critique, I clarify further the ‘as if realist’ political ontology of the state. I suggest that critical realism's appeal to the ontological stratification of social reality and to the logic of retroduction are the principal stumbling blocks for ‘as if realists’, that the appeal to state power(s) as distinct from the state as real cannot circumvent the ‘as if realist’ ontological objection to the state as real since both remain conceptual abstractions, but that there is a natural affinity between the strategic-relational approach developed by Jessop and others and the ‘as if realist’ ontology of the state that I here elucidate.