Chapter

Introduction

Mark Bevir and R. A. W. Rhodes

in The State as Cultural Practice

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199580750
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723179 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199580750.003.0001
Introduction

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The theory of the state is the historic heart of political science. During the twentieth century, the main approach to the state was modernist-empiricism with its associated empirical topics. Positivists, including many behaviouralists, tried to replace the concept of the state with other concepts more amenable to their general theories, but modernist-empiricists nonetheless ensured that the concept kept a key place in the lexicon of political science. This chapter looks at present-day versions of modernist-empiricism, unpacking the distinctive philosophies, concepts, and empirical topics. It identifies the distinctiveness of our approach. The aim is to define, defend, and illustrate an alternative theory of the state. It is not based on modernist-empiricism but on hermeneutics and historicism; on Dilthey and Collingwood rather than Weber or Marx.

Keywords: modernist-mpiricism; positivism; behaviouralism; the state; hermeneutics

Chapter.  8762 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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