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Beyond the State: An Essay in Interpretation: An Introductory Critique Paperback – 1 Jun 1995


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"John Hoffman′s Beyond the State is an important book. The modern state is undergoing extremely complex changes and has predictably been a subject of agonised philosophical debate. John Hoffman′s book makes a most valuable contribution to the debate. He skilfully analyses the nature of the state, examines the liberal, anarchist, Marxist, feminist and other recent critiques of it, and suggests appropriate ways of conceptualising and organising the state. His treatment of the critiques of the state is perceptive, and his own alternative carefully thought out. This is one of the finest books on the subject and no student of the modern state can fail to benefit from it." Bhikhu Parekh, University of Hull

"His book is shaped around a discussion of some of the major contributions to the debate over the nature of the state, the character of legitimacy, and the characteristics of international society. Rather like a restrained gallery guide who none the less has clear opinions of his own when pointing out the pictures, Hoffman presents his own views by means of a discussion of the rival exhibits." Times Literary Supplement

"John Hoffman has written a thoughtful and thought provoking account of the state and of the possibilities of its transcendence ... A welcome antidote." Political Studies

"Thought–provoking ... Hoffman′s argument is well crafted and bold." Political Geography

"[A] challenging introductory critique of the idea of the state. It is well researched and written in a style accessible to the non–specialist." Studies in Marxism

"Beyond the State promises to be a thought provoking new book." Leicester Mercury

From the Back Cover

In this critical introduction to the state, Hoffman argues that, with the industrialization of war, states are now capable of destroying humanity itself. If we are to have a future at all, he suggests, we must look beyond the state.


Hoffman discusses various critiques of the state, focusing on liberalism, anarchism, marxism, feminism and postmodernism, and shows how these highlight the need for us to look for alternative forms of political organization. But he also suggests that a distinction should be made between the "state" and "government", arguing that such a distinction holds the key to evaluating these alternative critiques.


Finally, he shows how developments such as the emergence of supra–statest organizations, and the supplanting of repressive and hierarchical institutions of the state by processes of democratic government within international and local communities, point to a world beyond the state. The book is an accessible yet challenging introduction to the state and state theory. It will be welcomed by students in politics and political theory, political philosophy, sociology and international relations.

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