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The An-Archical State: Logics of Legitimacy in the Social Contract Tradition
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The modern state is today under great pressure. In the face of globalization, many theorists seek to rethink the boundaries of the state. They call for a transformation of the state from the national to the global level. But there is a deeper theoretical question at stake. It has to do with the way we conceive of the state itself; what purposes it serves and what notion of legitimacy it harbours. This thesis undertakes a rereading of the state within the social contract tradition. It replaces a traditional conception of statehood with a version called the an-archical state. The an-archical state is sustained by way of a distinction between two different logics of state legitimacy: a vertical and a horizontal. If the vertical logic has been at the centre of the social contract tradition, the horizontal logic has for the most part been unexplored. By retrieving this horizontal logic, the thesis seeks to contribute to a new way of thinking about legitimacy. Two arguments are made. Together they make up the essence of the an-archical state. Firstly, it is argued that the rationale behind the modern state is to limit an infinite responsivity to the other. Unlike those who argue that the raison d’etre of the state is to free people from an anarchical war of all against all, this thesis contends that it frees people from the an-archical responsivity of the one for all. Secondly, it is argued that this negative act of freedom alters the political structure of the state itself. The legitimacy of the state no longer resides in the will to consent, but in the act of dissent.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Statsvetenskapliga institutionen , 2004. , 237 p.
Stockholm studies in politics, ISSN 0346-6620 ; 99
Keyword [en]
legitimacy, social contract, state, responsivity, anarchy, dissent, subjectivity, freedom, action, Levinas, Arendt
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-221ISBN: 91-7265-924-6OAI: diva2:191117
Public defence
2004-09-24, hörsal 5, hus B, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 13:00
Available from: 2004-09-02 Created: 2004-09-02Bibliographically approved

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