Everyday Life and the State  book cover
1st Edition

Everyday Life and the State

ISBN 9781594512193
Published March 15, 2007 by Routledge
150 Pages

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Book Description

'Peter Bratsis breaks new ground, forcing us to think of the connections between big structures and our most intimate inner lives. A fascinating and erudite book.' -Frances Fox Piven, CUNY Nearly four centuries ago, liberal political thought asserted that the state was the product of a distant, pre-historical, social contract. Social science has done little to overcome this fiction. Even the most radical of theories have tended to remain silent on the question of the production of the state, preferring instead to focus on the determinations and functions of state actions. Bratsis argues that the causes of the state are to be found within everyday life. Building upon insights from social, political, and anthropological theories, his book shows how the repetitions and habits of our daily lives lead to our nationalization and the perception of certain interests and institutions as 'public.' Bratsis shows that only by seeking the state's everyday, material causes can we free ourselves from the pitfalls of viewing the state as natural, inevitable, and independent from social relations.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. The Spontaneous Theory of the State and the State as Spontaneous Theory 3. From The King's Two Bodies to the Fetish of the Public 4. Political Corruption as Symptom of the Public Fetish; or, Rules of Separation and Illusions of Purity in Bourgeois Societies 5. The National Individual and the Machine of Enjoyment; or, The Dangers of Baseball, Hotdogs, and Apple Pie 6. The Constitution of the Greek Americans 7. Tentative Conclusions and Notes Toward Future Study

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Peter Bratsis is a Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Culture, Technology, and Work, City University of New York. He is coeditor with Stanley Aronowitz of Paradigm Lost: State Theory Reconsidered (University of Minnesota Press 2002).


“Peter Bratsis makes a significant contribution to our understanding of one of the most important political issues of our time—the nature and production of the state, and its relationship to the concrete realities of people’s lived experience. Offering a valuable rereading of marxist state- theory, he extends it in original ways to connect to the complexities and contradictions of contemporary political life.”
—Lawrence Grossberg, author of Caught in the Crossfire: Kids, Politics, and America’s Future (Paradigm, 2005)

“Peter Bratsis breaks new ground, forcing us to think of the connections between big structures and our most intimate inner lives. A fascinating and erudite book.” –Frances Fox Piven, CUNY

“This is an important theoretical and empirical contribution to our understanding of the state and state power. Arguing that we should not take the state too literally, as a simple fact of life, it shows how we can analyze the ways in which a heterogeneous web of social and political actors reproduce the state in its various moments through a variety of interconnected everyday practices. It will have a significant impact on how state is theorized and researched in many disciplines and, especially, in inter-disciplinary inquiries.”
—Bob Jessop, Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies, Lancaster University