Critically Examine the Pluralist Theory of the State.
Before we can examine the pluralist theory of the state it is first necessary to define exactly what is meant by the term state'. Once this is done we can look at the pluralist conception of the state, or more accurately, the pluralist conception of the role that the state plays in society. The term state is often used in two different senses. It is often used to refer to countries or regions within countries, for example, the United States of America. In this sense the term state is used in much the same manner as the term society, they are for some interchangeable. The other meaning given to the term state is, in a way, antithetical. The state does not refer to countries, or societies, but to a specific set of institutions, distinct from those institutions that exist vis -vis the state. (R.Hanson The State web page). There are many definitions of what exactly makes up the state, Ralph Miliband in his book, "The State in Capitalist Society" defines the state as consisting of the following institutions: .
Parliamentary assemblies .
local government .
civil service (bureaucracy) .
cabinet - leading politicians.
Most scholars and politicians would agree with this definition of the state although some might also add institutions such as the education system and sections of the media in certain countries, such as the BBC in Britain. Historically the state has emerged from war. This in itself leads to many of the things that make up a state being established, for example the military and some form of control, for instance taxation to pay for wars and the afore mentioned military. In the past it could be said that the sate existed to wage war on behalf of its leader, but now the job of the state is much more important. There are many questions concerning the state and the role it should play in our daily lives, for example is the state too involved? As the state plays such an important role in the world today many people have studied its processes and tried to establish what it should stand for and how it should work.