Context: State theorists in disciplines such as Sociology and Political Science define “the state” in a multitude of ways. Approach: Ontology is about the nature of “being.” This approach to analysis is non-judgmental. This project, thus, is not about true or false, good or bad state concepts. Every claim defining the state is treated simply as a claim that is competing with other claims in the same scholarly arena. Question: What can be learned by mapping the ontology of the state? (i.e., how concepts are paired together or apart) Conclusion: Scholars generate state concepts with the following formula: “the [X] state.” In order to distinguish their new concept, scholars pair it with and against other, existing concepts. As we shall see, the author ponders whether or not this is a viable, long-term future pathway for state theory.
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