“Migdal and The State as Weak or Strong” is viewed often. With all the anxiety surrounding Syria, I thought to talk about culture as it relates to the State (i.e., structure, Migdal).
From the Migdal post:
Strong states almost seamlessly are able to guide the rules of society—without threatening opponents. Here, the “rightness of a state’s having high capabilities to extract, penetrate, regulate and appropriate” the rules of society is unchallenged and generally ubiquitous.
Weak states often showcase strongmen whom “offer viable strategies of survival to villages, ethnic groups….” (210). The state is unable to mobilize the population for political purposes and there is often a fragmentation of social control (228). Weak states often add insult to injury, and “dirty tricks” are often employed to gain control (228).
I would like to argue that strong states also have strong cultures, weak states have a fragmented culture. Like Weber informed us in Philosophy of Right: external chaos will increase internal peace. What is this other than a fragmented state trying to become strong via nationalism–through culture? It is difficult to describe a hegemonic state as fragmented.
Americans are Patriots to ’76 (Abbott 1999). Meaning, Americans, culturally, subscribed to “republican” notions of freedom (Wood 2012), and early 21st century Americans protect this culture to this very day. I do not expect the American people to favor authoritarianism, because their “native political language” is republicanism; which actually rises up and fights authoritarianism.
Americans, therefore, must be vigilant about only spreading republican culture; and certainly not spreading authoritarianism!
However, in the past 40 years, it is evident that the American brand of globalization has been liberalism–the spreading of capitalism and democracy. To be sure, many people think Iraq was about expanding capitalism–privatize all oil; and bring democracy in to fortify it (e.g., logrolling). Republicanism, for some Americans, appears extinct.
Perhaps the American culture is fragmented. If so, how big are the “republican” cracks? Is authoritarianism invading the White House? Congress? The American people? What would that mean for global development? For liberalism?
Completing this research would be worthwhile because political languages are webs of culture. Individuals