Dilemmas of contemporary statehood
On the sociological paradoxes of weak dialectical formalism and embedded neoliberalism
in Critical theory and sociological theory
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Law, money, educational training, knowledge, politics, and power play some role in the workings of each social system. Yet it would be wrong to suppose that social systems are states in miniature. It would also be wrong to suppose that social systems function like regional states within an overarching nation state. Modern societies are constituted in ways that enable a specific social system, designated as the political system, to emerge and assume responsibility for the impersonal sharing and transfer of power. Attempts to strategically de-differentiate systems for the purposes of taking control and steering them have lead in some instances to the re-personalisation of the exercise of power, corruption, and other kinds of democratic deficits. It is no longer feasible to imagine political authority as having a pyramidal structure that absorbs democratic inputs in a vertically structured process culminating in the state. Similarly, it is no longer possible to see the fundamentally important constitutional dimension of statehood as being limited to the official separation of legislative, executive, and judicial powers. Statehood today has to be reappraised in light of the potentially constitutional dimensions of social systems and the possibilities for inter-systemic communication.

Critical theory and sociological theory

On late modernity and social statehood


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