Definition of State
(noun) A system of power and authority that claims the legitimate right to use force, composed of institutions (i.e., government, legal system, military, police) that regulates society within its territory.
- American English – /stAYt/
- British English – /stAYt/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /steɪt/
- British English – /steɪt/
- Plural: States
- The term “State” does not have to be capitalized, but typically is in legal documents and is capitalized here for differentiation.
- The conceptualization of State has undergone semantic change over time and the concept continues to evolve.
- “State” and “government” are not the same thing sociologically, the government is part of the State. However, outside of the social sciences the terms are used interchangeably.
- Not to be confused with a “state” that is part of a federation such as North Carolina in the United States or New South Wales in the Federation of Australia.
- “The development of the modern form of organization of corporate groups in all fields is nothing less than identical with the development and continued spread of bureaucratic administration. This is true of church and state, of armies, political parties, economic enterprises, organizations to promote all kinds of causes, private associations, clubs, and many others. Its development is, to take the most striking case, the most crucial phenomenon of the modern Western state” (Weber 1947:337).
- “The major impetus for the creation of national education systems lay in the need to provide the state with trained administrators, engineers and military personnel; to spread dominant national cultures and inculcate popular ideologies of nationhood; and so to forge the political and cultural unity of burgeoning nation states and cement the ideological hegemony of their dominant classes” (Green 1990:309).
- Economic Sociology Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Politics and Policy Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “state” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Krieger, Joel. 2006. Globalization and State Power: A Reader. New York: Pearson Education.
- Marinetto, Michael. 2007. Social Theory, the State and Modern Society. New York: Open University Press.
- Miliband, Ralph. 1969. The State in Capitalist Society. New York: Basic Books.
- Oppenheimer, Franz. 1914. The State: Its History and Development Viewed Sociologically. Translated by J. M. Gitterman. New York: Vanguard Press.
- Parsons, Talcott. 1969. Politics and Social Structure. New York: Free Press.
- Pierre, Jon, and B. Guy Peters. 2000. Governance, Politics and the State. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
- Pierson, Christopher. 1996. The Modern State. London: Routledge.
- Poggi, Gianfranco. 1978. The Development of the Modern State: A Sociological Introduction. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Green, Andy. 1990. Education and State Formation: The Rise of Education Systems in England, France and the USA. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Weber, Max.  1947. The Theory of Social and Economic Organization. Translated by A. M. Henderson and T. Parsons. New York: Oxford University Press.
Agger, Ben. 2004. The Virtual Self: A Contemporary Sociology. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. 2011. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Brinkerhoff, David, Lynn White, Suzanne Ortega, and Rose Weitz. 2011. Essentials of Sociology. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Brym, Robert J., and John Lie. 2007. Sociology: Your Compass for a New World. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Chase-Dunn, Christopher, and Bruce Lerro. 2014. Social Change: Globalization from the Stone Age to the Present. New York: Routledge.
Collins English Dictionary: Complete and Unabridged. 6th ed. 2003. Glasgow, Scotland: Collins.
Delaney, Tim, and Tim Madigan. 2015. The Sociology of Sports: An Introduction. 2nd ed. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.
Dillon, Michele. 2014. Introduction to Sociological Theory: Theorists, Concepts, and their Applicability to the Twenty-First Century. 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Encyclopædia Britannica. (N.d.) Britannica Digital Learning. (https://britannicalearn.com/).
Henslin, James M. 2012. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. 2011. Sociology: The Core. 10th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Jary, David, and Julia Jary. 2000. Collins Dictionary of Sociology. 3rd ed. Glasgow, Scotland: HarperCollins.
Kendall, Diana. 2011. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Kornblum, William. 2008. Sociology in a Changing World. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Macmillan. (N.d.) Macmillan Dictionary. (https://www.macmillandictionary.com/).
Marsh, Ian, and Mike Keating, eds. 2006. Sociology: Making Sense of Society. 3rd ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.
O’Leary, Zina. 2007. The Social Science Jargon Buster: The Key Terms You Need to Know. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).
Ravelli, Bruce, and Michelle Webber. 2016. Exploring Sociology: A Canadian Perspective. 3rd ed. Toronto: Pearson.
Scott, John, and Gordon Marshall. 2005. A Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.
Stewart, Paul, and Johan Zaaiman, eds. 2015. Sociology: A Concise South African Introduction. Cape Town: Juta.
Taylor & Francis. (N.d.) Routledge Handbooks Online. (https://www.routledgehandbooks.com/).
Thorpe, Christopher, Chris Yuill, Mitchell Hobbs, Sarah Tomley, and Marcus Weeks. 2015. The Sociology Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Tischler, Henry L. 2011. Introduction to Sociology. 10th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).
Wiley. (N.d.) Wiley Online Library. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/).
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “State.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved October 2, 2022 (https://sociologydictionary.org/state/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
State. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/state/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “State.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://sociologydictionary.org/state/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“State.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 2 Oct. 2022. <https://sociologydictionary.org/state/>.