Assess the view that coercive power is the essential characteristic of the state.
The state is a political association that has sovereign jurisdiction within a defined territorial area. The state exercises its power through institutions. There are 5 key features of the state: sovereignty, publicity, legitimacy, domination and territorial association. This means it exercises absolute and unrestricted power whilst being funded by the public, furthermore all its decisions are binding on the citizens and it can use coercive power to make sure its laws are obeyed and people who do disobey the laws are punished.
One interpretation of the state with says that coercion is an essential characteristic of the state is totalitarian states. This interpretation of the state argues for a state with all embracing control spreading throughout all aspects of an individual’s life. The state would control the economy, education, culture, religion and family life. There would be surveillance and terroristic policing to control people’s lives. They would use propaganda and manipulate all mass media to gain support and they would abolish civil society. This type of state is fascist inspired and some examples are Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy. This type of state would be completely coercive with no individualism or freedom or rights. One theorist said about how the state is just armed bodies of men and coercion is the only option
Another type of state which makes coercion an essential part is the collectivised state. This is when the economy is completely state controlled and there is no private enterprise. There would be the collectivisation of agriculture and it would be centrally planned. This follows socialism and Marxism and an example would be USSR from 1917 to 1993.
Finally, there is a coercive view of the state. This view is supported by anarchists and Marxist and the state is established by the working class to defend their interests but not by a social contract. In...