Assignment On Modes of Acquiring State and Territory

Rather like the air we breathe, states are organizations that surround us as individuals, influencing and, in many ways, offering sustenance to the lives we lead. Similar to the air we breathe, states are also organizations that often lie beyond the limits of our critical reflection. We may question the priorities of political parties; we may also disagree with the policies implemented by various governments. We do not often question, however, the character of the organization that political parties, while in government, seek to govern. In other words, we rarely think about what states actually are, how they are constituted, how they come into being and how they change over time. These are some of the questions concerning the form of the stare that we will ask, and ultimately seek to answer, in this chapter.
The first and most fundamental issue we need to deal with, of course, is what exactly is a state? fortunately, a number of eminent social scientists have sought to answer this question. Max Weber, for instance, argued that a state is a 'human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory' (Garth and Mills 1970: 78). Michael Mann (1984) has built on this definition by arguing that any definition of states should incorporate a number of different elements:

1. a set of institutions and their related personnel;
2. a-degree of centrally, with political decisions emanating from this centre point; 
3. a defined boundary that demarcates the territorial limits of the state; 
4. a monopoly of coercive power and law-making ability. ;

An extended definition such as this makes us chink about a number of important aspects of the state. Significantly, it encourages us to think about the state in a far more abstract sense. In addition to the vari­ous paraphernalia associated with states in individual countries, there are, or at least there should be, certain underlying constants in states throughout the world, ones that are highlighted in the above definition. Rather than viewing the state in purely personal terms, therefore - as a supplier of public utilities, or some­thing that is embodied in a senate or parliament, for instance - it makes us think of the underlying processes and institution that (usually) help to constitute state bureaucracies.