Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Eric Schliesser — A note on Weber's famous definition

The state is the form a human community that (successfully) lays claim to the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical violence within a given territory. --- Max Weber, "Politics as Vocation," (33), translated Rodney Livingstone.
In context, Weber claims that the monopoly is a consequence of a historical process in which intermediary powers and institutions lose their capability for independent use of physical violence. He leaves it a bit ambiguous if it is appropriate to call earlier 'states,' which lacked the monopoly, 'states' or if the use of 'state' has shifted (and that his definition is, thus, context specific). While the idea of a monopoly of physical violence arguably goes back to Bodin or Hobbes, I suspect Weber is the first to use the economic language; this is no coincidence. Throughout the famous lecture, Weber treats the corporation and the state as analogies (in the way that Hobbes uses the family as the relevant analogy for the state). Weber does not address the question why such a political monopoly is a good thing....

A note on Weber's famous definition
Eric Schliesser | Professor of Political Science, University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

See also

While the summary doesn't mention it, this applies to stereotypes and stereotypical thinking, which is a form of cognitive-affective bias.

Imperfect Cognitions — Blog on delusional beliefs, distorted memories, confabulatory explanations, unrealistically optimistic predictions, and implicit biases
Conceptual Centrality and Implicit Bias
Posted by Kathy Puddifoot


  1. Persian Empire
  2. Roman Empire
  3. Mongol Empire
  4. Caliphate
  5. British Empire

The author draws lessons for the inchoate American Empire that emerged post WWII.

The National Interest
These Are the 5 Most Powerful Empires of All Time
Akhilesh Pillalamarri

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