State, Definitional issues

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Summary

A state is an organized community living under one government. States may be sovereign. The term state is also applied to federated states that are members of a federal union, which is the sovereign state. Some states are subject to external sovereignty or hegemony where ultimate sovereignty lies in another state. The state can also be used to refer to the secular branches of government within a state, often as a manner of contrasting them with churches and civilian institutions.

Details

There is no academic consensus on the most appropriate definition of the state. The term "state" refers to a set of different, but interrelated and often overlapping, theories about a certain range of political phenomena. The act of defining the term can be seen as part of an ideological conflict, because different definitions lead to different theories of state function, and as a result validate different political strategies.

The most commonly used definition is Max Weber's, which describes the state as a compulsory political organization with a centralized government that maintains a monopoly of the legitimate use of force within a certain territory.Cudworth et al., 2007: p. 95Salmon, 2008: p. 54Copyright: Attribute—Share Alike

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