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The State as Cultural Practice$
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Mark Bevir and R. A. W. Rhodes

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199580750

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199580750.001.0001

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(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction
The State as Cultural Practice

Mark Bevir (Contributor Webpage)

R. A. W. Rhodes (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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

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