‘The State’: A Comment on Abrams, Denis and Sayer

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    Abstract This paper answers the question,‘what is the state?’as posed in Abrams (1988) and Denis (1989), by examining Sayer's (1987) realist reconception of ‘relations of production’ and their ‘ideal superstructures’. It suggests that Sayer's alternative to ‘traditional’ marxism warrants a reappraisal of the relationship between Marx and Foucault. It concludes that ‘civil society’ and ‘the state’ are Janus‐faces of production relations, generated by Foucault's ‘disciplinary practices’.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)358-377
    Number of pages20
    JournalJournal of Historical Sociology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sep. 1992


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