Type
Article
Titre
Neither real nor fictitious but ‘as if real’? A political ontology of the state
Dans
British Journal of Sociology
Éditeur
GB : Wiley-Blackwell
Volume
65
Numéro
3
Pages
459 - 480 p.
ISSN
00071315
Mots clés
State, political ontology, realism, ‘as if realism’
Résumé
EN
The state is one of series of concepts (capitalism, patriarchy and class being others) which pose a particular kind of ontological difficulty and provoke a particular kind of ontological controversy – for it is far from self-evident that the object or entity to which they refer is in any obvious sense ‘real’. In this paper I make the case for developing a distinct political ontology of the state which builds from such a reflection. In the process, I argue that the state is neither real nor fictitious, but ‘as if real’ – a conceptual abstraction whose value is best seen as an open analytical question. Thus understood, the state possesses no agency per se though it serves to define and construct a series of contexts within which political agency is both authorized (in the name of the state) and enacted (by those thereby authorized). The state is thus revealed as a dynamic institutional complex whose unity is at best partial, the constantly evolving outcome of unifying tendencies and dis-unifying counter-tendencies.

CITATION BIBLIOGRAPHIQUE
EXPORT