Features and Developments of the Modern State

  • Fabio de NardisEmail author


The institutionalisation of political power is mainly seen in the forms taken by the modern state as a result of a growing centralisation of power. The process of state building led to the reduction of the political fragmentation that had taken place in Western Europe through a multitude of local and independent centres of power in a predominantly agricultural social structure. This phenomenon was generated by the use of violence and through the establishment of permanent armies under the command of a central power. The first manifestation of the state was in the experience of absolutism which later evolved into forms of the rule of law. With the introduction of universal suffrage, the rule of law was further transformed into a democratic state in which all citizens enjoy the same civil and political rights. The entry of the masses into politics has forced power to respond to the claims of an increasingly complex and differentiated society that expresses a multiplicity of interests. State building is distinct from the nation-building process. By nation we mean the transformation of the inhabitants of a territory into a “people” aware of their own history and identity. Administration and bureaucracy are also two fundamental aspects of the modern state. They become stronger to respond to the need for specialisation and differentiation of political functions. Faced with the crisis of state sovereignty in a context of neoliberal globalisation, there is a generalised transformation in the contemporary formulas of governance, and of public bureaucracies, reorganised on the basis of a logic of functional fragmentation and managerialisation.


Modern state Bureaucracy Public policies Neoliberalism Depoliticisation 


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of History, Society, and Human StudiesUniversity of SalentoLecceItaly

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