Examine and Assess the View That the Legitimacy of States Is Always Contested.

Examine and assess the view that
the legitimacy of states is always contested.

In this essay I will be looking at what a state really is and how it claims legitimacy then   considering how and why it is contested; by doing this it will examine the view of the state ‘always’ being contested and by whom.
The definition of the word ‘state’ in this particular context is ‘an idea based on shared expectations about the ordering of social life; a set of organisations; and a set of practices.’ (Blakely & Saward, 2009 p355).   Some see the state as the government and others view it as the organisations and people within the government; such as schools and traffic wardens. The state is larger and more complex than it has been in the previous years; with a role of creating and maintaining political order within its territory, preventing chaos and encouraging social stability. The state is everywhere in our daily lives, there are many and varied practices through which the state orders the lives of citizens within it. There is a need for there to be a state in place in order for people to be governed; the state uses expert information to make decisions which benefits the public; the majority of which would possibly only have lay knowledge regarding the issues in question.  
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, p361). Weber uses this statement to show the state as more dominant than society. Legitimacy is difficult to define within this remit as government/state have their own ideas as to what is lawful and right, which may differ from the view of society. Whereas political theorist John Hoffman counter argues against Weber’s theory. Hoffman sees that the state cannot claim a monopoly of the legitimate use of force as this is just not possible. He argues that a state cannot exist unless it is contested, otherwise...