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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter analyzes contemporary state transformations through three sets of comparisons. Comparison across time suggests that much of the current literature neglects the growth and development of states that have always marked previous transformations. Comparison across policy indicates that state retreat is most pronounced in areas of directive economic intervention and more muted when states play a central role in implementation, but also that states have found opportunities to expand their activities in response to new risks and social norms. Finally, comparison across place shows that differences in state positions within the international system, state structures, and features of civil society are leading to distinctive state transformations around the world – ranging from the forging of new missions and modes of governance among the more affluent countries, to the renewal of despotic capacity throughout much of the post-Communist world, to recurrent ineffectiveness, crisis, and political violence in the global South.

Keywords: state transformations, state theory, comparative politics, the Global South, Communist state, post-Communist state, East Asia, Latin America, Africa, affluent democracies

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