On the Nature and Features of the (Early) State: An Anthropological Reanalysis
The state is usually considered to be a centralized and specialized coercive institution for governing a society. Contrariwise, our approach stems from the presumption that the state should be studied as a type of society for which this institution is adequate. This leads to the necessity of paying special attention to the coming to the fore of the non-kin relations in state society. Political centralization cannot be regarded as a feature specific to the state, as it is applicable to many non-state forms of societies. In the meantime, the feature typical only for the state is specialization resulting in administrators’ professionalization, that is, in the formation of bureaucracy which is related directly to the non-kin social ties coming into prominence. As for the right to coerce, it is a dependent variable: the legitimate violence in states is exercised through and by bureaucrats who operate within bureaucratic institutions.