Examine and assess the claim that ‘the state remains an elusive thing’ (Blakeley and Saward, 2009, pp. 354 -5).

There is no obvious definition for what a state is. In any situation, a person is bound to encounter the state many times – be it with meeting people employed by the state, by having encountered a state agent or by the very fact that a person’s routine is regulated and decided by the Government. But what is the state?   The bodies that make up the state are referred to as ‘a formless mass’ by political scientist Christopher Hood, who recognises the complex nature of the state (Hood cited in Blakeley and Saward, 2009, p.356).

The state is a multifaceted and quite abstract thing made up of ideas, people and institutions (Blakeley and Saward, 2009, p.360). The state is visible in many ways through obvious figures such as police officers and doctors, who we recognise as working for state organisations such as the Metropolitan police service and the NHS. A person working on behalf of a governmental body is also known as a ‘state actor’, and the actions undertaken by state actors and institutions are referred to as ‘the everyday discourses’ of ‘state actors’ by a political geographer, Joe Painter (Painter cited in Blakeley and Saward, 2009, p.354).   These everyday discourses feature in Jill’s story when she observes clear state control in the form of a speed camera, and the invisible involvement of the state when using a car seat for her baby, as is the legal requirement (Blakeley and Saward, 2009, p.351). So although it is clear that the state is a major feature in our lives, it is very unclear as to what the state actually is, especially as we can see there is no tangible aspect to the actual state. It is a collective group of people, organisations and activities. The authors, define the state as ‘an idea based on shared expectations about the ordering if social life; a set of organisations and a set of practices.’ (Blakeley and Saward, 2009, p.355)....