The SAGE Handbook of Political Sociology offers a comprehensive and contemporary look at this evolving field of study. The focus is on political life itself and the chapters, written by a highly-respected and international team of authors, cover the core themes which need to be understood in order to study political life from a sociological perspective, or simply to understand the political world. The two volumes are structured around five key areas: PART 1: TRADITIONS AND PERSPECTIVES PART 2: CORE CONCEPTS PART 03: POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES AND MOVEMENTS PART 04: TOPICS PART 05: WORLD REGIONS This future-oriented and cross-disciplinary handbook is a landmark text for students and scholars interested in the social investigation of politics.

The State

The State
Alan Scott


States are not the only way of organizing the political life of a community. Kinship, patrimonialism, city-states and empires have also served this purpose. Moreover, as Ernest Gellner tirelessly pointed out, the vast majority of human societies were ordered into neither states nor nations (e.g. Gellner, 1994, p. 62). The state, or more precisely the nation-state, was a central theme and concern of classical social theory and early social science for the same reason that capitalism, industrialism, ‘the masses’ and urbanism were. Each was associated with the emergence of modern society – of modernity – and it was the social, political and economic institutions of modernity and their transformative effects that were both the key stimulus ...

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