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Critically assess the relative merits of state-centred versus society-centred views of the state.

State-centered Theory

There are many approaches through which the ideas and concepts of governance has been realised and applied. Among these approaches the state-centred views and society-centred views are the most popular (Turner 2017). Both these approaches assist to understand the governance through the perspective of their importance for the citizen of the country. It leads to greater understanding of the complicated relationship of these two involved in the process of the governance.

State-cantered theory is a political theory that stresses on the act of the government on a civil society. This theory denotes that the state can structure the political life. The state structures the power independently so that it is distributed among the classes as well as other groups within the territory at a given time (Marsh and Stoker 1995). This theory argues that the government of a country represent a deliberate compact and agreement among the states that retain a supreme position. The republican party and Thomas Jefferson were the main supporter of this concept. These supporters see the country’s constitution to be the agreement among the states which enables them with the power of self-governance.

In the area of political economy, the state-centred relational approach centres round the assumptions focussing on the hierarchical control of the state. According to this assumptions, the state must have supreme power on some of the fields which may not be handled by the society (Hay 2002). These areas are related with security of the state such as defence mechanism, financial sectors and policies. these are to be made hierarchical by the state so that the entire responsibility can be solely managed by one particular section but not the whole society. These are the places where the policies are to be made in no time. Hence there is no place for public consultation and society has a very limited power to advice the government in such cases. The followers of state-centred approach argue that the state must retain its preeminent position in following or govern in alternative ways. In order to develop and govern efficiently the government may ask for assistance from the state employed mechanisms.

In the recent decades the government have adopted a broader range of governance strategies. There have been a various perspectives associated with the state. There have been theories, in which the states act independently to its citizens. It acts autonomously through three mechanisms (Dryzek and Dunleavy 2009). Firstly, the taste acts autonomously when it has different desires and expectations from its citizens. It then governs with the help of the civil servants which are capable of setting the agenda though decision making process. These civil servants use honours systems and government contracts to manage the opponents. Secondly, the state autonomy is used to manipulate the public opinion to support the initiative or wining arguments (Hay 2002). This can be done to reduce benefits or access to various aids. Finally, the state autonomy is used when it aims to support policies by the powerful interest groups in the society.

State-Centered Relational Approach

According to another set of theorists, argue that state operates under numerous external pressures but has interests of its own which the state can act on. The states have sovereignty that governs hem to scope for acting according to their wishes. The collection of more tax revenues leads to gain more power (Karlsrud 2016). Hence richer states are more powerful. Similarly, richer states are capable to employee more efficient civil servants. This deprives the non-state organisations that mainly employ able individuals from changing the state’s power (Marsh and Stoker 1995). The state-centric views of governance opine that the state becomes more powerful when it is capable of stopping or outlawing it opposition groups. However, state power is vulnerable to global markets and globalised terror. This view states that developed countries can practicably make mutual cause with more traditionally repressed fragments of the society to realise an overhaul not just of one particular regime but the system itself (Dryzek and Dunleavy 2009). 

The society-centred approach emphasises the propagation of some complex horizontal forms of social relations as well as governance networks. These are said to have a marginalised government and rendered the government’s role ambiguous. The idea is that the sovereign state is losing power and being replaced by new concepts about pluricentric government because it is based on the ideas of negotiation, trust and interdependence (Turner 2017). According to the society centric views, it operated in two parts. First aims to the alleged shift from the government to the type of governance which has resulted in the involvement of broad range of actors within the governing process. These actors are joined together not with the rules, hierarchy and regulations but informal as well as comparatively egalitarian networks (Hepp, Hjarvard and Lundby 2015).  Therefore, the chief theme of the society centred view consists of the partnership and networks. It blurs the boundaries between private and public sector.

As the critics have defined, the society centred view focuses on the networks that define the character of the governance (Dix-Carneiro and Kovak 2015). It provides a coordinating mechanism which is quite different from the hierarchy and markets. The policy networks mainly capture the formal as well as informal links along with exchanges which develop between the governments and non-government organisations, civil society association and various interest groups within a particular policy area. The chief intention of the society centred view is that the self-organising strategy networks are taking the policy decisions (Dryzek and Dunleavy 2009). An elaborate structure of third-party administration is associate with the governance in which the crucial elements of the public authority. have been shared with the horde of the non–governmental as well as other governmental actors and make it a complex collaborative system.

Recent Developments in State-centric Governance

According to Inoguchi (2017), the society centric views make the operation of the government ambiguous as well as marginalised. Society centric views are based on the proliferation of complicated as well as complex horizontal arrangements of the societal relationships which link the governance networks. The sovereign states, however, under this particular approach, lose their grip. The sovereignty approach is altered by the newer ideas of pluricentric governments that are based on the ideas of interdependence, trust and negotiation. Another set of critics argue that society centred approach of governance is a self-organising and inter-organisational network (Hepp, Hjarvard and Lundby 2015). It is characterised by the features like interdependence on one another, resource exchange procedure and shared reception of the rules.

In this type of governance, the top down government stays within place but a major shift in the governance takes place which can be seen by everybody (Carnoy 2014). Here, public management proceeds increasingly through the pluricentric settlements among the relevant as well some affected actors based on the matters of trust, interdependency, norms, discourses and jointly established regulations. In the society centred approach capture the surge in the governance networks. Which is driven by the obstinate critique of the traditional systems of governance in relations to the markets as well as hierarchies (Marsh and Stoker 1995). It is described as a shift from the hierarchic bureaucracy for getting a better use of markets along with network. This type of governance involves with the types of political direction in which the non-hierarchical methods of management are employed.

The society centred approach involves larger variety of actors in the governing process which ultimately results in superseding or marginalising the government. The broader consensus has been developed around the concept that the government is not the actual place from where the society is being governed (Inoguchi 2017). Some of the critics, understand the society focussed government to be the result of decline in the central government’s capability to direct the society. To these critics, the governance focuses on the governing mechanisms that do not rest only upon the resort to the sanctions of the government and authority (Coady and Lehmann 2016). The government leads to a power dispersion and development of institutional void. In this process, there are limitless negotiations without any clear rules to clarify the policies.

The state cantered approach has various dimensions which differentiate it from the society centric approach. According to the critics, in the question of loyalty, exit and voice, there are huge dissimilarities between these two views (Howe 2015). The primary assumption of situational decline can be seen from both of these perspectives. The critics argue that in case any institution records or exhibits the symptoms of institutional stagnation as well as decay, different approaches view them differently. According to their own understandings, they respond or proceed (Rakodi 2014). This can be related with the society and political regime as well. The society cantered approach can be seen from the bottom up. On the contrary, the state centred scheme is seen from top down.

Society-centered Approach

There is a huge difference between these two approaches ow they respond to the trade policies. different governing approaches determine different trade objectives when they are negotiating with the regional trade arrangements or when making the universal trade strategies decisions (Daugbjerg and Fawcett 2017). A society centred approach of the governing policy argues that under this setting, the trade policy objectives of the governments are shared by the responses of the politicians to the demands of the interest groups. In order to properly understand the political crescendos of competition, this approach puts more emphasis on the interplay between the political institutions as well as organised social interests (Coady and Lehmann 2016). Trade has some distributional consequences. Which generate political opposition due to the fact that the winners as well as the losers from trade come to the political arena. These groups turn into politics, for advancement as well as defend their own economic interests.

The role of different political institutions in developing interests can be seen to be reflected in the trade policies of a government. These interest groups have different preferences (Howe 2015). Some of them prefer protectionism where these groups practice to shield or defend the domestic industries of their country from the foreign competition through taxation on imports. On the contrary another set of interest group preferences liberalisation. This latter group pressurises the state to lift restrictions on the individual business activities (Daugbjerg and Fawcett 2017). This leads to privatisation of the organisations in the country. Collective Action Theory where the groups aim to serve for common good but face troubles to do so effectively. Different institutional frameworks create different types of interest representation (Koreh 2017). There are two standard model of trade policy preferences namely factor and sector model. The factor model argues that the trade policies are driven by the struggle between factors of production for which one factor enjoys rise or income and another faces fall in income (Karlsrud 2016). Both of these models agree in changing tariffs relocations if income. These income consequences are seen to be the source of the preferences of each interest groups either to support protectionism or act against it. These models disagree on how the society gets divided due to the income consequences (McCormack 2017).

A state centred approaches on the other hand argue that the national policy makers interfere in the state economy in order to peruse the objectives. These objectives are determined separate from the narrow self-interested disquiets off the domestic interest groups (Turner 2017). These interest groups intervene to develop and maintain particular national industries. However, there are numerous contrasting factors in the state cantered and society centred approaches but there is no ultimate way to get the best from both of these approaches. The institutions of the civil society in society centred view accept the intervention of unions and advocacy groups whose interest drive the state and it makes policies for the welfare of the society (Dix-Carneiro and Kovak 2015). On the country, the state centred approach sees and believes in power accumulation on the hand of one particular group. Both these approaches in order to develop their societies and gain competitive advantages by their own means.

References:

Carnoy, M., 2014. The state and political theory. Princeton University Press.

Coady, N. and Lehmann, P. eds., 2016. Theoretical perspectives for direct social work practice: A generalist-eclectic approach. Springer Publishing Company.

Daugbjerg, C. and Fawcett, P., 2017. Metagovernance, network structure, and legitimacy: Developing a heuristic for comparative governance analysis. Administration & Society, 49(9), pp.1223-1245.

Dix-Carneiro, R. and Kovak, B.K., 2015. Trade liberalization and the skill premium: A local labor markets approach. American Economic Review, 105(5), pp.551-57.

Dryzek, J. and Dunleavy, P. (2009). Theories of the democratic state. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, pp.319-349.

Hay, C. (2002). Political analysis. Basingstoke [u.a.]: Palgrave, pp.89-134.

Hepp, A., Hjarvard, S. and Lundby, K., 2015. Mediatization: theorizing the interplay between media, culture and society. Media, Culture & Society, 37(2), pp.314-324.

Howe, B. ed., 2015. Democratic Governance in Northeast Asia: A Human-Centered Approach to Evaluating Democracy. Springer.

Inoguchi, T., 2017. Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: State-Centered Versus Society-Centered Perspective. In Exit, Voice and Loyalty in Asia (pp. 9-12). Springer, Singapore.

Karlsrud, J., 2016. How can the UN move towards more people-centered peace operations?.

Koreh, M., 2017. The Political Economy of Social Insurance: Towards a Fiscal?Centred Framework. Social Policy & Administration, 51(1), pp.114-132.

Marsh, D. and Stoker, G. (1995). Theory and Methods in Political Science. 3rd ed. Macmillan, pp.268-287.

McCormack, B., 2017. Negotiating Partnerships with Older People: A Person Centred Approach: A Person Centred Approach. Routledge.

Rakodi, C., 2014. Urban livelihoods: A people-centred approach to reducing poverty. Routledge.

Turner, F.J., 2017. Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches. Oxford University Press.

Turner, F.J., 2017. Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches. Oxford University Press.

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