Dd101 Tma07

Examine and assess the idea that the authority of the state to govern is always contested.

The state can be thought of in many terms. Some might say ‘the government’; some might say different institutions such as their school or hospital. The state is less solid and more complex than this. In order to examine and assess the idea that the authority of the state to govern is always being contested this essay will look at various pieces of evidence to argue both sides of this claim.

The German sociologist Max Weber defined the state as “An organisation that successfully claims a monopoly of the legitimate use of force in a given territory”, (Blakely & Saward, 2009, Pg 361). The organisation or political party voted into Downing Street are given political legitimacy by achieving the majority, monopoly, of the UK vote. In effect, this party is given the authority to govern by the majority of voters. It can be said however that this is always contested as there are hundreds
of thousands of voters that will vote to elect an opposing party. The purpose of this essay is to examine other evidence that shows this challenge to the authority of the state and assess the idea that this challenge is always there in various forms.

Political theorist John Hoffman counter argues Weber’s theory, he argues that the state cannot claim a monopoly of the legitimate use of force as this is simply not possible. This claim on monopoly is continually contested by ‘competitors’, i.e. criminals, terrorists, etc. If this claim was indeed true, Hoffman argues that there would no need for a governing state as everyone would act peacefully and regard all laws as legitimate, (Blakely & Saward, 2009, Pg 373).

The first piece of evidence that will be looked at is that of Jill’s story. Now as Blakely and Saward point out on page 352 of Exploring Social Lives, 2009. Jill’s story is a typical one. The everyday activities of work, dropping her child at nursery. Her...