The modern civil state as set of power relations


The people, living in towns, had not only urban productive and commercial pursuits but they also had politically autonomous entities. The town obtained rights that reached individuals in a constituted collectivity capable of operating as a unitary entity. The assembly of the Standestaat existed in towns due to the participation of the people to the local ruling with the franchise system. The structural duality appeared in Standestaat, as the estate system was constituted by the assembly, religious people, clergy, and people of the town’s local landlords and the king as head of the state.

Furthermore the citizen, living in town was establishing semi professional militia to protect their town. This point was reflecting the notion of Genossenschaft oppose to the Gefolgscahft, which included companionship, common spirit and the absence of single leader. Standestaat means the polity of estates. Towns had the entrance of new political force into a system of rule and in fact they strengthen the centre authority with the development of new system of rule. After the decade of the Sti?? ndestaat, Absolute system of rule formed the one powerful king instead of sharing his authority like in Sti??

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ndestaat. The external factors that affected the rise of the absolutism were enlarging the empires and the colonisation. These factors brought the need of stronger state because it was impossible to do effective colonisation without a powerful state that has monopoly of power. Absolute system transformed the law to a framework of into an instrument for rule. This type of law was designed to apply uniformly over the territory. At the same time, provincial and regional Sti?? nde lost the ability to adapt it local conditions.

According to the function of the new law, ruler dominated the whole population of the territory. . The legitimacy of monarch’s personal power in Absolutism was influenced by Justinian code, that aimed to restore Roman Law to the glory of the classical period and at unifying the legal system. The discipline of this law system brought two notions to the Absolute system of rule. The first term is “Corpus Juris Civilis” referred to uniformity for civil law. The other notion is that king has the personalised law called legibus solutus.

First, the ruler enacted the development of the legislation and also the court created the `reception of the Roman law by making the legal principles and Justinians`s corpus juris civilis. This development reflected the spirit of the absolute system of rule. The second fact is that the ruler recognised himself as legibis solubus. This means that the law, being a product of his autonomous power, could not bind him or set boundaries to that power (Poggi, 1978,73). In the absolute system of rule, the monarch was the creator of the law.

The expressive will of monarch is the unique source of the legal entity. In French case the king had a distinctive role for the rule of the state. The French king used another conception coming from roman system named the councils. The king controlled the country through the consul of the government, which was responsible for agents such as tax collector. In German case, the bureaucratic organisation was established and civil servants replaced the councils. THE POWER PERSPECTIVE Machievelli and Hobbes are the theoreticians who sought for the modern analysis.

The comparison of them serve to introduce both the predominate and a subordinate tradition of the power analysis. The distinction between them can be explained simply. Hobbes is said to have legislated on what power is. In contrast, Machiavelli is said to have interpreted what power does. Hobbes was a classic legislator and servant of the state power, who obtained a rationalised account of order which state power could generate. As he said in his study Leviathan, a relatively autonomous, self-managing discourse, which produced an explicit model of order.

The rhetoric of Machievelli, by contrast, was of necessity at some remove from the role of legislator. He not only presents a strong unified state power, he was also ignored by the state power in which he resident. He emphasised to interpret the strategies and tactic of power, while Hobbes emphasised the causality. Machievelli was interpreting the strategy and organisation that seems most likely to secure an ordered totality of power in scene characterised by a vortex, a flux of politics.

Yet Hobbes figure out to legitimate a myth of order premised on sovereignty. According to Clegg, the insights of Machivelli are important in that they alert us to a conception of power altogether less mythical and more realistic in its appreciation of strategy, alliances and network in the analysis of power. The major traditions of these derive their terms primarily from Hobbes, usually in a manner that is more implicit. Steven Lukes, who comes from the Weberian school, situated more complex set of power analysis compare with Hobbes and Machivelli.

In the 20th century, Lukes yielded the unfamiliar power approach, separating three dimensions. While the two dimensions declare the retrospective look of power, the last dimension points out his own model of power. The one-dimensional view is often called pluralist view of power. Lukes hold that one dimensional view of power involves a focus of behaviour in the making of decisions on issue over which there is an observable conflict of interest, seen as express policy preferences, revealed by political participation. (Lukes, 1989: 15).

Two-dimensional view is the result of the influence of behaviourist approach. Lukes express that the two dimensional view of power involves a qualified critique of the behavioural focus of the first view [I say qualified because it is still assumed that non decision making is a form of decision making] and it allows for consideration of the ways in which decisions are prevented from being taken on potential issues over which there is a observable conflict of interest seen as embodied in express policy preferences and sub political grievances (Lukes, 1989: 20)

Lukes said that the three dimensional view of power involves a thoroughgoing critique of the behavioural focus of the first two views as too individualistic and allows for consideration of the many ways in which potential issue are kept out of politics (Lukes, 1989, 24). The three dimensions of Lukes suggested two tactics. First the mechanism of the power over is identified and understood with the help of the classic question, how A influence B. In the second tactic, the condition of the emergence of the social belief require to find the means. This term uses survey in order to ask the questions as if A does not exist.

This situation aims to clarify the dimension and the role of the ideology in the power over. The power of A over B figure out the alienation for B. Therefore B do not recognise the interest of A on account of the ideology, produced by A. After we drew the modernist scholar, Lukes, we will recognise the very distinctive and radical French thinker Michel Foucault, who realises a breakthrough against the historical visual of the modern system of rule. He built up his unique theory, known as post modernity, rejecting all modernist approaches of the enlightenment era.

Foucault created the new concept of the power relations, depending on the hierarchical network. Power relations, descibing the power regime, have diverse agents. They moves like atoms and vectors in the network These agents are intentional and intelligent aginst the goal orientation, subjectivity and rationality, which is used in modernist theory. Knowledge power places those agents into how to understand the power relations, which is visible or not. Instead of using a universal methodology, he directs his works by a tool kit in order to explore the society and the power relation.

He pays attention to his methodological precautions so as to clarify his coverage. They are categorised in five stages. In the first place, you should free yourself from the idea of the appropriation of power. In other words, no class, no ideology, and no groups owe the power. The second methodological precautions stated that you should free yourself about localisation of power. The power concerns the state apparatus in a regional or local forms and institutions. Thirdly, you should free yourself from the notion of subordination to a definite form of social maintenance.

In the fourth methodological precautions, you should free yourself from the idea of the effect. Every power relations can not be explained according to ideological reasons. We can see the torture in both Liberal democracies and authoritarian regimes. The final precaution is that you should free yourself from the juridical contractual schema. For Foucault there is no contractual model to solve the problems like state. The power analysis of framework provided by Foucault is very important to understand the nature of both modern and non-modern state.

His emphasis on the necessity of power at micro level helps to figure out how state try to dominate the bodies of human and framework of bio power. According to Foucault, power became most domination the human bodies. In contrast Foucault’s methodology does also cover the power at macro level. It describes how modernist state based on the idea of normalisation and how the state uses demographic transition to shape the society and how the modern society is indeed a society of surveillance with special reverences to clinics, orphanages and imprisonment designed parallel to the non-constructed Panopticon.

References: Kishlansky, M and others (1995) Civilisation in the West. New York: HarperCollins. Poggi, G. (1978) The Development of the Modern State. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Poggi, G. (1990) The State -Its Nature, Development and Prospects-. Cambridge: Polity Press. Thomas, Ph. J. (1986) Introduction to Roman Law. New York: Kluwer Law and Taxation Publishers.


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