This chapter presents Bevir and Rhodes's theory of the state, and highlights its distinct and distinctive features. Their approach differs significantly from the ideational and interpretive approaches found respectively within the new institutionalism and discourse theory. In particular, we defend a historical approach to meaning as situated agency, explicitly opposing structural concepts of signifiers and regimes. From this perspective, the state appears as a differentiated cultural practice composed of all kinds of contingent and shifting beliefs and actions, where these beliefs and actions can be explained through a historical understanding. We then provide the set of aggregate concepts appropriate to historical studies of the state; situated agency, beliefs, practice, power, narrative, tradition, and dilemma.
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