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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.42) Chapter 3 Anti-foundationalism
The State as Cultural Practice

Mark Bevir (Contributor Webpage)

R. A. W. Rhodes (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores what many observers suggest are the leading present-day forms of interpretive social science: postmodern theories of discourse. First, we challenge the belief these approaches have a shared paradigm stemming from anti-foundational philosophy. Instead, we suggest that anti-foundationalism is compatible with all kinds of approaches to political science, and these approaches arose out of distinctive socialist or radical traditions, not mainstream political science. Second, we argue that much post-Marxist discourse theory still relies on structuralist and occasionally even determinist forms of explanation associated with modernist-empiricism. There is a clear tension between this lingering structuralism and historicist genealogies. Third, we suggest that discourse introduces several new topics to the theory of the state. These topics include governmentality, collective identities, ideologies, and resistance in governance.

Keywords:   postmodernism, anti-foundationalism, discourse theory, structuralism, post-Marxism, governmentality

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