The state affects all of us in one way or another, and Painter and Jeffrey state that immediately, albeit giving the term their own definition, referring to it as the not the processes object, entities, and agents use, but the effect of a separate process that makes us believe that these things exist in the first place. This definition is explained to have factors of several common terms for the state, and is related back to the previous chapter using high and low politics, where examples of the state in both forms are given. This is elaborated upon, such that high politics is common for warlike states, while low politics is considered to be taken into account only when high politics is not a major factor, and only when the nation is relatively well established.
The next section refers to the sovereignty and establishing of states, which are both given by the people of a state, generally through becoming recognized by other large groups of people who consider themselves a state. Though Painter and Jeffrey note how illogical this seems, they explain that, as a method of establishing sovereignty, it has become the most common and well-established method of gaining statehood, though this mutual recognition is rarely, if ever, obtained easily. The following section then concerns war, both as a way to get the opposing side to acknowledge your own statehood, but also noting that the resources required for war, such as armies and equipment, help form a state behind the scenes as well. In an unknowing way, the organization of armies and acquisition of funds and weaponry through taxation and manufacturing or trade, respectively, builds the standard idea of a state, contributing to the established idea that high politics is important first, as it involves war and recognition, rather than low politics, involving the comfort of citizens.
Once this recognition is gained, the building of states is begun. This is done through one of three strategies, being capital-intensive, being coercion intensive, and mixing the two in a type of centralized path. Noting that the third, more mixed, path has traditionally worked the best throughout history, both because of their coercion of citizens into a more unified nation, and their more economical approach to gaining power, these states are then referred to as nation-states, leading to the understanding of the fact that many modern states are examples of this middle trail, including the U.S.A. and many European states.
The final section of the chapter concerns the ruling of a nation through administrative power and the notion of statehood as an ultimate goal for many groups of people. This ruling is typically done using information collected throughout time, and continues to increase, gaining and filtering ever more information as time passes, though not through traditional spying techniques, rather, common surveillance and agreements where information is unknowingly supplied, and oftentimes, simple idea forming techniques. Doing all this work, though, is the price paid for continued statehood and recognition. It is, too, the goal of many to form more states, but this becomes complicated through the now common path of formation, which included colonialism and decolonization, which, because they have become the only accepted method, cause trouble for those who would wish to form new states.