chapter  4
States and social institutions
Pages 9

A major theme of this book is its definition of politics as events occurring

within the state, and within society, as well as between them. It is, by and

large, this interaction between the two plains that has escaped the careful

attention of most scholars, with much of the emphasis having been put on

either the state or society and rarely on the nexus connecting them. There

are two defining characteristics of both the functions of states and societies

and of the nature of the interaction between them. First, as chapter 3

pointed out, both states and societies are made up of institutions that serve as their building blocks and constituent components. It is through these

institutions that the interaction between state and society is made possible.

Thus, the role of state and social institutions is pivotal in determining the

very nature of the political process. Building on the arguments of the pre-

vious chapter, this chapter examines the role and significance of state and

social institutions. Chapter 5, in turn, presents a more comprehensive