The State

This weeks reading was over state formation.  Not a surprise here that the book does not give a clear-cut definition on what makes a state.  In fact the book the book states that it is difficult to define state.  Most people see state as an institution or organization, but the book mentions that no state consists of a single unified organization.  For example, we see the state of Indiana.  But within the state you have different institutions like; education, healthcare, first responders, building roads, and the book mentions that a state could also be privately fighting a war.   The book also looks at state as a function.  Just like place, we are seeing a word that is broad and can take on different types of meanings.  Looking at some of the other posts about the reading, there seems to also be an agreement that place seems to be similar to state that it is a broad definition and all depends on how you look at it. For me, state uses geographic features in order to determine a boundary. For example states along the Mississippi River.  But the chapter also talks about the function of a state.  Is a geographic area in a good or bad state?


The book also talks about the origins of modern claims to sovereignty.  Here Painter and Jeffery talk about monarchies in Europe ruled by divine right and become the ultimate authority.  Next, they talk a little about how states now are now in wars because they do not like the way they are being governed.  In fact the book offers a good chart that shows the numbers of wars that took place from the 16th century all the way to 1975.   In the 16th century there were thirty-four wars, the most out of any century on the chart.  The book makes note of how we start to see more of a military present during this time and begin to realize how costly wars are. For me, I love to see stats, charts, diagrams, pictures, etc.  I think it is easier to get a grasp on what the topic is.


Towards the end of the chapter, Painter and Jeffery talk about the idea that the modern state has taken strength from another movement of the twentieth century.  That idea is nationalism.  So what is nationalism?  Nationalism is simply being loyal and proud of ones country.  An example of when the United States showed nationalism occurred after September 11th, 2011.  Before the terrorist attacks, it seemed like there were few homes that had an American Flag outside their home.  Then after that date, it seems to me that, many people used the flag as a symbol to unite as a country to show support for other Americans and show how proud people are to be Americans. 

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