State Power
State Power
Bob Jessop presents an up-to-date account of his distinctive approach to the dialectics of structure and strategy in the exercise of state power. While his earlier work critically surveys other state theories, this book focuses on the development of his own strategic-relational approach. It introduces its main sources, outlines its development, applies this approach to four case studies, and sketches a strategic-relational research agenda. Thus the book presents a comprehensive theoretical statement of the approach and guidelines for its application.

Key features of the book include: an account of the authors theoretical development; a review of recent developments in state theory and the cultural turn in political economy; critical strategic-relational re-readings of major state theorists Marx on political representation, Gramsci on the spatiality of state power, Poulantzas on the state as a social relation, and the later Foucault on statecraft; applications of the strategic-relational approach to important issues concerning the contemporary state: its gendered selectivity, the future of the national state, the states temporal sovereignty, and the relevance of multi-scalar meta-governance in Europe for the more general future of the state. The book concludes with recommendations for future strategic-relational research in political economy and state theory.
Show More
Buy Now


Order Exam Copy

For Lecturers Only

More Info
  • February 2008
  • 200 pages
  • 161 x 237 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $83.25
  • 9780745633206
  • Paperback $31.25
  • 9780745633213
  • Open eBook $25.00
  • 9780745657677
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations.

List of Boxes, Figures and Tables.


General Introduction.

What is the State?.

A Preliminary Definition of the State.

‘Putting this Book in its Place’.


1. The Development of the Strategic-Relational Approach.

Three Sources of the Strategic-Relational State Approach.

The First Phase in the Strategic-Relational Approach.

The Second Phase of the Strategic-Relational Approach.

The Third Phase of the Strategic-Relational Approach.

Interim Strategic-Relational Conclusions.

2. Bringing the State Back in (Yet Again).


The Marxist Revival and the Strategic-Relational Approach.

Strategic-Relational Tendencies in the Second Wave.

New Directions of Research.



3. Marx on Political Representation and the State.

What does The Eighteenth Brumaire accomplish?.

On Periodization.

The Political Stage.

The Social Content of Politics.

The State Apparatus and Its Trajectory.

More on Political Representation.


4. Gramsci on the Geography of State Power.

Spatializing the Philosophy of Praxis.

Gramsci and the Southern Question.

Gramsci on Americanism and Fordism.

Gramsci on Territoriality and State Power.

Gramsci and International Relations.


5. Poulantzas on the State as a Social Relation.

Marxist Theory and Political Strategy.

New Methodological Considerations.

The State and Political Class Struggle.

The Relational Approach and Strategic Selectivity.

Re-Reading Poulantzas.

Exceptional Elements in the Contemporary State.

Periodizing the Class Struggle.

The Spatio-Temporal Matrix of the State.


6. Foucault on State, State Formation, and Statecraft.

Foucault and the “Crisis of Marxism”.

Poulantzas and Foucault compared.

The Analytics of Power versus State Theory.

Foucault as a Genealogist of Statecraft.

With Foucault beyond Foucault.



7. The Gender Selectivities of the State.

Analyzing Gender Selectivities.

Gender Selectivities in the State.

Strategic Selectivity and Strategic Action.

Political Representation.

The Architecture of the State.


8. Spatiotemporal Dynamics and Temporal Sovereignty.

Globalization Defined.

Globalization and the Spatial Turn.

Some Spatio-Temporal Contradictions of Globalizing Capitalism.

The Implications of Globalization for (National) States.


9. Multiscalar Metagovernance in the European Union.

State-Centric Perspectives.

Governance-Centric Approaches.

Changes in Statehood in Advanced Capitalist Societies.

The EU as a Schumpeterian Workfare Post-National Regime.

The European Union and Multiscalar Metagovernance.


10. Complexity, Contingent Necessity, Semiosis, and the SRA.

Complexity and Contingent Necessity.

Complexity and the Selection of Selections.

Semiosis and Complexity Reduction.

Towards a New Strategic-Relational Agenda.


Original Sources of Chapters.


Name Index.

Subject Index

About the Author
Bob Jessop is Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University.
Show More


“Jessop’s book draws upon extensive reading to provide some useful methodological pointers for analysing states and challenges crude approaches to state power, including simplistic oppositions of state and civil society, politics and economics, global and national.”
International Socialism

“Definitive, in the fullest sense of the word, State Power represents the culmination of three decades of path-breaking work from the world’s most restlessly creative state theorist. This is Jessop’s tour de force.”
Jamie Peck, University of Wisconsin-Madison

“Bob Jessop has long been one of the most outstanding and influential contemporary exponents of state theory. In his new book he returns to reconsider some of the theoretical sources of his own distinctive strategic-relational approach – Marx, Gramsci, Foucault, and, above all, Nicos Poulantzas – before, suitably refreshed, addressing more substantive issues. The resulting reflections will be of great value to anyone struggling to make sense of the state in the era of neo-liberal globalization.”
Alex Callinicos, King’s College London

“Not for the first time, Bob Jessop's theoretically sophisticated and empirically astute dissection of social and political trends serves to breathe fresh life into the theory of the capitalist state. Yet what sets this work apart, above all, is the way in which it draws together three decades of profound insight into a tightly integrated framework for social, political and economic analysis. This, the most complete statement of the strategic-relational approach, should be required reading for all analysts, students and, ideally, all agents and subjects of state power.”
Colin Hay, University of Sheffield

Show More