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date: 27 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Weber defines the state as a political institution that claims successfully on the monopoly of violence. The chapter shows that this definition is a result of Weber’s historical studies revealing the monopoly as the decisive criterion, which distinguishes the modern occidental state from all other historical forms of domination. The monopolization of violence by the occidental state was the result of a long-term process in which the local holders of powers were expropriated by a central force. Comparing the worldwide situation of present political communities, however, the Weberian state is rather the exception than the rule. State-free territories are facing political communities with a high degree of statehood. The chapter points out that particularly for democracies the maintaining of the monopoly of violence is of fundamental importance since it guarantees that legitimate decisions have the chance to be enforced.

Keywords: modern state, Weberian state, monopoly of violence, sovereignty, legitimacy, state-building

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