- Peter Ferdinand, Peter FerdinandEmeritus Reader in Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick
- Robert GarnerRobert GarnerProfessor of Politics, University of Leicester
- and Stephanie LawsonStephanie LawsonProfessor of Politics and International Studies, Macquarie University
This chapter discusses the importance of the state and sovereignty to the study of politics. It first provides an empirical typology of the state, from the minimalist night-watchman state to the totalitarian state, before considering various theories of the state such as Marxism, pluralism, elitism, and the New Right. Two key general points about these competing theories are examined. First, an organizing theme relates to what each of these theories say about the distribution of power. Second, the theories can be analysed in both empirical and normative terms. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the claim that the state has significantly declined in importance, mainly as a result of economic globalization.