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Privilege and Property: The Political Foundations of Failed Class Formation in Eighteenth-Century Austrian Lombardy

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Document pages: 24 pages

Abstract: The distinction between state and civil society is deeply rooted in both sociology and political theory (Barkey and Parikh 1991:525; Bobbio 1999:115; Habermas 1989:19). Even thinkers who argue that civil society and the state ‘interact often retain the basic conceptual opposition between the terms. Barkey and Parikh go so far as to characterize recent work on the state as “the state-society literature” (1991:524). Within sociology, however, there is less theoretical discussion of what connects state and society—political society—or the way that interests in civil society are constituted as claims on the state. But as the Sardinian Marxist Antonio Gramsci pointed out in his Prison Notebooks, and the German sociologist Max Weber is his essay on class, status and parties, political society is reducible neither to interests in civil society, nor to the state (Gramsci 1971:138–40; Weber 1946:194; see also Poulantzas 1976: 95; Przeworski 1985:67; Stepan-Norris and Zeitlin 1991:1153; Wright 1978: 103, 222).

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