Theories of the Modern State

University of Nottingham (2021)

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Course Handbook

 

 

The state is the predominant site of power and authority in the modern world. Where modern states do not exist, there is usually civil war or occupation; where they are ineffective, politics, society and economy tend to be unstable. The modern state, though, is also itself a site of violence and coercion in the name of which much suffering has been inflicted on those people subject to its power, at home and abroad.

Modern politics, then, simply cannot be understood unless we also understand the modern state. This is a module on the theory of the modern state in intellectual history. It surveys some of the most important theories of the modern state in the history of political thought, from the formative treatises of Bodin and Hobbes, through Hegel and Schmitt, to Carole Pateman and Charles W. Mills, very much in the present. Students will come to appreciate how the power and authority of the modern Western state have been characterised, justified and repudiated during the modern era.


General Reading

Dyson, Kenneth H.F. (2010) The State Tradition in Western Europe: A Study of an Idea and Institution, 2nd ed. (Colchester: ECPR Press)


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Elshtain, Jean Bethke (2008) Sovereignty: God, State and Self (New York: Basic Books) SEE SIDEBAR


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Jackson, Robert (2005) Sovereignty (Cambridge: Polity Press) SEE SIDEBAR


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Nelson, Brian R. (2006) The Making of the Modern State: A Theoretical Evolution (New York: Palgrave Macmillan) SEE SIDEBAR


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Pierson, Christopher (2004) The Modern State, 3rd ed. (London: Routledge), especially chapters 1 and 2 SEE SIDEBAR


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Prokhovnik, Raia (2008) Sovereignty: History and Theory (Exeter: Imprint Academic) SEE SIDEBAR


Vincent, Andrew (1987) Theories of the State (Oxford: Blackwell), especially chapters 4 and 5

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History of Ideas Podcast, Professor David Runciman, University of Cambridge


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1. Jean Bodin: The Pre-History of the Modern State

Week 1

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Lecture 1 slides

Discussion Questions

  • Is there a distinction between a word and a concept?
  • What does Bodin use the word ‘state’ to mean?
  • Did Bodin have the modern concept of state? Why or why not?
  • Which other words or concepts are crucial for understanding the conceptual grid on which the word or concept of state is plotted for Bodin?

Set Text

Bodin, Jean (1606) The Six Books of the Commonwealth
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    Book I, Chapter 8, ‘On Sovereignty’

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    Book II, Ch.7, ‘Concerning Popular States’

Required Reading

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Grimm, Dieter (2015) Sovereignty: The Origin and Future of a Political Concept (New York: Columbia University Press), Chapter 1, ‘Bodin’s significance for the Concept of Sovereignty,’ pp.13-32

Recommended Reading

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Lee, Daniel (2016) Popular Sovereignty in Early Modern Constitutional Thought (Oxford: Oxford University Press), Chapter 6, ‘Jean Bodin, Popular Sovereignty and Constitutional Government,’ pp.187-224

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Skinner, Quentin (2002) Visions of Politics, Volume 2, ‘Renaissance Virtues,’ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), Chapter 14, ‘From the State of Princes to the Person of the State,’ pp.368-413

Supplementary Reading

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Beaulac, Stephane (2004) Power of Language in the Making of International Law: The Word ‘Sovereignty’ in the Making of International Law (Leiden: Brill), Chapter 6, ‘Bodin’s Sovereignty: Power-Centraliser,’ pp.101-125

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Foisneau, Luc (2013) ‘Sovereignty and Reason of State: Bodin, Botero, Richelieu and Hobbes,’ in Howell A. Lloyd (ed.) the Reception of Bodin (Leiden: Brill), pp.232-242

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Franklin, Julian H. (1991) ‘Sovereignty and the Mixed Constitution: Bodin and his Critics’ in The Cambridge History of Political Thought, 1450-1700, eds. J.H. Burns and Mark Goldie (Cambridge: CUP), pp.298-328

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Krogh, Thomas (2014) ‘Jean Bodin: The Modern State Comes into Being’ in Philosophy of Justice, ed. Guttorm Fløistad (Dordrecht: Springer), pp.43-60

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Nicholls, Sophie (2019) ‘Sovereignty and Government in Jean Bodin’s Six Livres de la République (1576),’ Journal of the History of Ideas, 80(1), pp.47-66

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Salmon, J. (1996) ‘The Legacy of Jean Bodin: Absolutism, Populism or Constitutionalism?’ History of Political Thought, 17(4), pp.500-522

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Tuck, Richard (2016) ‘Democratic Government and Democratic Sovereignty: The Sleeping Sovereign,’ in Popular Sovereignty in Historical Perspective, ads. Richard Bourke and Quentin Skinner (Cambridge: CUP), pp.115-141

Further Reading

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Keohane, Oísin (2017) ‘Bodin on Sovereignty:Taking Exception to Translation?’ Paragraph 38(2), pp.245-260

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Miglietti, Sara (2018) ‘Sovereignty, Territory and Population in Jean Bodin’s République,’ French Studies 72(1) pp.17-34

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King, Preston (1974) The Ideology of Order: A Comparative Analysis of Jean Bodin and Thomas Hobbes (London: George Allen and Unwin), Chapter 20, ‘The Ideology of Order,’ pp.255-286


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2. Thomas Hobbes: The Modern State as Sovereign Person

Week 3

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Lecture 2 slides

Discussion Questions

  • Why did Hobbes develop such a complicated account of what it means to be a person?
  • What justifies the authority of the state, according to Hobbes?
  • What makes Hobbes’s theory a theory of the modern state?
  • How does the frontispiece of Leviathan illustrate Hobbes’s written arguments about the state?

Set Text

Hobbes, Thomas (1991) Leviathan, ed. Richard Tuck (Cambridge: CUP), Chapters 16 and 17
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    Ch.16 – Of Persons, Authors and Things Personated

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    Ch.17 – Of the Causes, Generation and a Definition of a Commonwealth

Required Reading

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Skinner, Quentin (2018) From Humanism to Hobbes: Studies in Rhetoric and Politics (Cambridge: CUP), Chapter 12, ‘Hobbes and the Concept of the State,’ pp.341-383

Recommended Reading

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Fleming, Sean (2021) ‘The Two Faces of Personhood: Hobbes, Corporate Agency and the Person of the State,’ European Journal of Political Theory, 20(1) pp.5-26

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Martinich, A.P. (2016) ‘Authorisation and Representation in Hobbes’s Leviathan,’ in The Oxford Handbook of Hobbes, eds. A.P. Martinich and Kinch Hoekstra (Oxford: OUP), pp.315-338

Supplementary Reading

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Bartelson, Jens (2015) ‘Sovereignty and the Personality of the State’ in The Concept of the State in International Relations, eds. Peter M.R. Stirk and Robert Schuett (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press), pp.81-107

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Brito Vieira, Monica (2009) The Elements of Representation in Hobbes: Aesthetics, Theatre, Law and Theology in the Construction of Hobbes’s Theory of the State (Leiden: Brill), Chapter 2 on ‘Dramatic Representation,’ pp.75-144

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Hampton, Jean (1986) Hobbes and the Social Contract Tradition (Cambridge: CUP), Chapter 5 on ‘Authorising the Sovereign,’ pp.114-31

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Newey, Glen (2014) The Routledge Guidebook to Hobbes’ Leviathan, 2nd ed. (Abingdon: Routledge), Chapter 7 on ‘Sovereignty, State, Common-wealth,’ pp.172-203

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Olsthoorn, Johan (2021) ‘Leviathan Inc.: Hobbes on the Nature and Person of the State,’ History of European Ideas 47(1), pp.17-32

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Steinberger, Peter (2008) ‘Hobbes, Rousseau and the Modern Conception of the State,’ Journal of Politics 70(3), pp.595-611

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Turner, Henry S. (2016) The Corporate Commonwealth: Pluralism and Political Fictions in England, 1516-1651 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press) Chapter 8, ‘Leviathan Incorporated,’ pp.203-224

Further Reading

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Abizadeh, Arash (2017) ‘Hobbes’s Conventionalist Theology, the Trinity, and God as an Artificial Person by Fiction,’ Historical Journal 60(4), pp.915-941

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Springborg, Patricia (2019) ‘Quentin Skinner and Hobbes’s Artificial Person of the State Redux,’ Global Intellectual History 60(4), pp.915-941

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Mills, Charles W. (2011) ‘Body Politic, Bodies Impolitic’ Social Research 78(2), pp.583-606


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3. Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès: The Nation-State

Week 4

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Lecture 3 slides

Discussion Questions

  • How does Sieyès define ‘nation’? If he does so in various ways, can we find a way of making these consistent with each other?
  • Where does sovereignty lie in Sieyès’s nation-state?
  • Is István Hont correct that “Hobbes’s state and Sieyès’s nation are identical”?
  • Why has Sieyès’s legacy been so contested: an inspiration to moderate constitutionalists, nationalists and radical democrats alike?

Set Text

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Sieyès, Emmanuel Joseph (2003) ‘What is the Third Estate?’ section in Political Writings, ed. Michael Sonenscher (Indianapolis: Hackett), especially Chapter 5, ‘What Should have been Done: First Principles on This Matter,’ pp.133-144

Required Reading

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Hont, István (2005) Jealousy of Trade: International Competition and the Nation-State in Historical Perspective (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), Chapter 7 on ‘The Permanent Crisis of a Divided Mankind: “Nation-State” and “Nationalism” in Historical Perspective,’ pp.447-528, but especially pp.474-492.

Recommended Reading

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Rubinelli, Lucia (2019) ‘How to Think Beyond Sovereignty: On Sieyès and Constituent Power,’ European Journal of Political Theory, 18(1), pp.47-67

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Sonenscher, Michael (2003) ‘Introduction,’ in Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès Political Writings (Indianapolis: Hackett), pp.vii-lxiv

Supplementary Reading

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Baczko, Bronislaw (1988) ‘The Social Contract of the French: Sieyès and Rousseau,’ Journal of Modern History 60 – Supplement: Rethinking French Politics in 1788, S.98-S.125

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Lindsay, Adam (2020) ‘Sieyès and Republican Liberty,’ European Journal of Political Theory 60 – Supplement: Rethinking French Politics in 1788, S.98-S.125

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Pasquino, Pasquale (1994) ‘The Constitutional Republicanism of Emmanuel Sieyès,’ in Biancamaria Fontana (ed.) The Invention of the Modern Republic (Cambridge: CUP), pp.107-117 SEE SIDEBAR

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Runciman, David (2006) The Politics of Good Intentions: History, Fear and Hypocrisy in the New World Order (Princeton: Princeton University Press) Chapter 9, ‘Two Revolutions, One Revolutionary,’ pp.155-174

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Sewell, William J. (1994) A Rhetoric of Bourgeois Revolution: The Abbé Sieyes and ‘What is the Third Estate?’ (Durham, NC: Duke University Press) SEE SIDEBAR

Urbinati, Nadia (1006) Representative Democracy: Genealogy and Principles (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), Chapter 4, ‘A Nation of Electors: Sieyès’ Model of Representative Government,’ pp.138-161
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    Introduction

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    Ch.1 – Representation and Democracy

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    Ch.4 – A Nation of Electors

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von Eggers, Nicolai (2018) ‘Toward a Materialist Conception of Constituent power: Reinterpreting the Constitutional Theory of Sieyès,’ History of Political Thought 39(2), pp.325-356

Further Reading

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Frank, Stephanie (2011) ‘The General Will Beyond Rousseau: Sieyès’ Theological Arguments for the Sovereignty of the Revolutionary National Assembly,’ History of European Ideas 37(3), pp.337-343

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Mandelbaum, Moran M. (2016) ‘The Fantasy of Congruency: The Abbé Sieyès and the Nation-State Problematique revisited,’ Philosophy and Social Criticism 42(3), pp.246-266

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Muralidharan, Sukumar (2013) ‘The Nation and its Citizens: Of Identity, Property and Other Forms of Tyranny,’ Social Scientist 41(9-10), pp.3-58


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4. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: The Metaphysical State

Week 5

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Lecture 4 slides

Discussion Questions

  • How does the distinction between positive and negative liberty help us to make sense of Hegel’s theory of the state?
  • Hegel regards the modern state as the conclusion of a series of dialectical developments, i.e. steps through which human history passes on its way to Absolute Knowledge. How does he situate the modern state dialectically?
  • What is involved in the distinction between the external state and the constitution of the state, according to Hegel?
  • Why, according to Hegel, is “the development of the state to constitutional monarchy […] the achievement of the modern world”?

Set Text

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Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (1991) Elements of the Philosophy of Right, ed. Allen W. Wood (Cambridge: CUP), Section 3, ‘The State’, especially §§257-259

Required Reading

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Klosko, George (2013) History of Political Theory: An Introduction, Volume 2: Modern, 2nd ed. (Oxford: OUP), Chapter 9, ‘G.W.F. Hegel,’ pp.448-497

Recommended Reading

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Siep, Ludwig (2017) ‘Hegel’s Liberal, Social and “Ethical” State,’ in The Oxford Handbook of Hegel, ed. Dean Moyar (Oxford: OUP), pp.515-534 SEE SIDEBAR

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Vincent, Andrew (1983) ‘The Hegelian State and International Politics,’ Review of International Studies, 9(3) pp.191-205

Supplementary Reading

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Avineri, Shlomo (1972) Hegel’s Theory of the Modern State (Cambridge: CUP), Chapter 9, ‘The State – The Consciousness of Freedom,’ pp.176-193 SEE SIDEBAR

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Burns, Tony (2014) ‘Hegel and Global Politics: Communitarianism or Cosmopolitanism?’ Journal of International Political Theory, 10(3), pp.325-344

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Franco, Paul (1997) ‘Hegel and Liberalism’ Review of Politics, 59(4), pp.831-860

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Knowles, Dudley (2002) Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Hegel and the ‘Philosophy of Right’ (London: Routledge), Chapter 13, ‘The State’, §§257-360, pp.303-342

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Pelczynski, Zbigniew A. (1971) ‘The Hegelian Conception of the State,’ in Hegel’s Political Philosophy: Problems and Perspectives (Cambridge: CUP), pp.1-29

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Sedgwick, Sally (2001) ‘The State as Organism: The Metaphysical Basis of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right,’ Southern Journal of Philosophy Volume 39, Special Issue: The Contemporary Relevance of Hegel’s ‘Philosophy of Right,’ pp.171-188

Stedman Jones, Gareth (2001) ‘Hegel and the Economics of Civil Society,’ Civil Society History and Possibilities, eds. Sudipta Kaviraj and Sunil Khilnani (Cambridge: CUP) pp.105-130

Further Reading

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Alexander, James (2011) ‘Oakeshott on Hegel’s “injudicious” Use of the Word State,’ History of Political Thought 32(1) pp.147-176

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Vieweg, Klaus (2017) ‘The State as a System of Three Syllogisms: Hegel’s Notion of the State and its Logical Foundations,’ in Hegel’s Political Philosophy: On the Normative Significance of Method and System, eds. Thom Brooks and Sebastian Stein (Oxford: OUP), pp.124-141 SEE SIDEBAR

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Buck-Morss, Susan (2009) Hegel, Haiti and Universal History (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press), Chapter 2, ‘Hegel and Haiti,’ pp.21-75. Also in Critical Enquiry Summer 2000, 26(4), pp.821-865


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5. Carl Schmitt: The Constitutional State and the State of Exception

Week 6

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Lecture 5 slides

Discussion Questions

  • “Sovereign is he who decides on the exception.” What did Schmitt mean by this famous line?
  • What is the place of ‘political theology’ in Schmitt’s theory of the state?
  • What, for Schmitt, was wrong with the liberal constitutional state?
  • To what extent is Schmitt’s understanding of sovereignty indebted to Hobbes and Sieyés?

Set Text

Schmitt, Carl (2005) Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), especially Ch. 1 ‘Definition of Sovereignty,’ pp.5-15
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    Ch.1 Definition of Sovereignty

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    Ch.2 The Problem of Sovereignty

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    Ch.3 Political Theology

Required Reading

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Kelly, Duncan (2004) ‘Carl Schmitt’s Political Theory of Representation,’ Journal of the History of Ideas, 65(1), pp.113-134

Recommended Reading

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Kalyvas, Andreas (2000) ‘Carl Schmitt and the Three Moments of Democracy,’ Cardozo Law Review, 21(5/6), pp.1525-1565

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Schupmann, Benjamin A. (2017) Chapter 3: ‘The Absolute State,’ Carl Schmitt’s State and Constitutional Theory: A Critical Analysis (Oxford: OUP), pp.107-134

Supplementary Reading

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Bates, David (2006) ‘Political Theology and the Nazi State: Carl Schmitt’s Concept of the Institution,’ Modern Intellectual History, 3(3), pp.415-442

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Baume, Sandrine (2009) ‘On Political Theology: A Controversy between Hans Kelsen and Carl Schmitt,’ History of European Ideas, 35(3), pp.369-381

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Finchelstein, Federico (2017) ‘Carl Schmitt Between History and Myth,’ History and Theory, 56(3), pp.362-369

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Koekkoek, Rene (2014) ‘Carl Schmitt and the Challenge of Spinoza’s Pantheism between the World Wars,’ Modern Intellectual History, 11(2), pp.333-357

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McCormick, John (1997) ‘The Dilemmas of Dictatorship: Carl Schmitt and Constitutional Emergency Powers,’ Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, 10(1), pp.163-187

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Scheuerman, William E. (2020) ‘Part 1: The Jurisprudence of Lawlessness,’ in The End of Law: Carl Schmitt in the Twenty-First Century (London: Rowman & Littlefield), pp.17-213 SEE SIDEBAR

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Strong, Tracy (2012) Politics without Vision: Thinking without a Banister in the Twentieth Century, Chapter 6, ‘Carl Schmitt and the Exceptional Sovereign,’ pp.218-262 SEE SIDEBAR

Further Reading

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Bredekamp, Horst, Melissa Thorson Hause and Jackson Bond (1999) ‘From Walter Benjamin to Carl Schmitt, via Thomas Hobbes,’ Critical Inquiry, 25(2), pp247-266

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Agamben, Giorgio (2005) ‘The State of Exception as a Paradigm of Government,’ in State of Exception (Chicago: Chicago University Press), pp.1-31

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Kalyvas, Andreas (2018) ‘Carl Schmitt’s Postcolonial Imagination,’ Constellations, 25(1), pp.35-53


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6. Michel Foucault: Governmentality, Biopolitics and the Neoliberal State

Week 7

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Lecture 6 slides

Discussion Questions

  • What are the main differences between Foucault’s archaeological and genealogical projects?
  • What does a Foucauldian genealogy of security look like?
  • How does Foucault define ‘governmentally’? What is its relationship to ‘biopolitics’? Where does the modern state fit into this?
  • What aspects of Foucault’s genealogy of the modern state relate to the politics of gender and race?

Set Text

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Foucault, Michel (1991) ‘Governmentality,’ Chapter 6 in The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, eds. Graham Burchell, Colin Gordon and Peter Miller (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), pp.87-104 SEE SIDEBAR

Lawlor, Leonard & John Nale (2015) The Cambridge Foucault Lexicon (Cambridge: CUP) [Not on reading list]
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    7. Biopolitics

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    32. Governmentality

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    62. Politics

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    64. Power

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    78. Sovereignty

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    81. State

Required Reading

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Lemke, Thomas (2019) Foucault’s Analysis of Modern Governmentality: A Critique of Political Reason, trans. Erik Butler (London: Verso), Chapter 7, ‘The Genealogy of the Modern State,’ pp.153-197

Recommended Reading

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Dillon, Michael (2008) ‘Security, Race and War,’ Chapter 8 in Foucault on Politics, Security and War, eds. Michael Dillon and Andrew Neal (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan), pp.166-196 SEE SIDEBAR

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Jessop, Bob (2006) ‘From Micro-Powers to Governmentality: Foucault’s Work on Statehood, State Formation, Statecraft and State Power,’ Political Geography, 26(1), pp.34-40

Supplementary Reading

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Dean, Mitchell and Kaspar Villadsen (2016) State Phobia and Civil Society: The Political Legacy of Michel Foucault (Stanford: Stanford University Press), Chapter 5, ‘Blood-dried Codes,’ p.67-86

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Elden, Stuart (2007) ‘Governmentality, Calculation, Territory,’ Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 25(3), pp.562-580

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Hacking, Ian (1990) The Taming of Chance (Cambridge: CUP), Chapter 1, ‘The Argument,’ pp.1-10

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Macey, David (2009) ‘Rethinking Biopolitics, Race and Power in the Wake of Foucault,’ Theory and Society, 26(6), pp.186-205

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Peters, Michael A. (2007) ‘Foucault, Biopolitics and the Birth of Neoliberalism,’ Critical Studies in Education, 48(2), pp.165-178

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Sawyer, Stephen W. (2015) ‘Foucault and the State,’ The Tocqueville Review, 36(1), pp.135-164

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Taylor, Chloë (2014) ‘Biopower,’ in Michel Foucault: Key Concepts (Abingdon: Routledge), pp.41-54

Further Reading

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Elden, Stuart (2016) Foucault’s Last Decade (Cambridge: Polity Press)

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Neal, Andrew W. (2004) ‘Cutting off the King’s Head: Foucault’s Society Must be Defended and the Problem of Sovereignty,’ Alternatives, 29(4), pp.373-398

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Legg, Stephen (2007) ‘Behyond the European Province: Foucault and Postcolonialism,’ Chapter 24, Space, Knowledge and Power: Foucault and Geography, eds. Jeremy W. Crampton and Stuart Elden (Aldershot: Ashgate), pp.265-289


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7. Class and the Theory of the Modern State

Week 8

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Lecture 7 slides

Discussion Questions

  • Which neo-Marxist theory of the state – Ralph Miliband’s or Nicos Poulantzas’s – comes closes to Marx’s own theory of the state?
  • In what respects does a Marxist intellectual history of the state paint a different picture from, say, the kind of intellectual history of the state given us by Quentin Skinner?
  • What does the financial crisis of 2008 tell us about the relationship between capital and the state?
  • Is there a Marxist theory of the state or just a Marxist critique of the state?

Set Text

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Marx, Karl (2000) ‘The German Ideology,’ in Selected Writings, ed. David McLellan, 2nd edition (Oxford: OUP), pp.175-208 SEE SIDEBAR

Required Reading

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Das, Raju J. (2006) ‘Marxist Theories of the State,’ in Alternative Theories of the State, ed. Steven Pressman (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan), pp.64-90

Recommended Reading

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Carnoy, Martin (1984) The State and Political Theory (Princeton: Princeton University Press), Chapter 2, ‘Marx, Lenin, Engels and the State,’ pp.44-64 SEE SIDEBAR

Coleman, Janet (1990) Against the State: Studies in Sedition and Rebellion (London: BBC Books), Chapter 7, ‘Marx,’ pp.129-152

Supplementary Reading

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Clarke, Simon (1991) ‘The State Debate,’ in The State Debate, ed. Simon Clarke (Basingstoke: Macmillan), pp.1-69 SEE SIDEBAR

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Miliband, Ralph (1983) Class Power and State Power (London: Verso), Chapter 1, ‘Marx and the State,’ pp.3-25

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Poulantzas, Nicos (1969) ‘The Problem of the Capitalist State,’ New Left Review, Vol.58, pp.67-78

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Rosenberg, Justin (1994) The Empire of Civil Society: A Critique of the Realist Theory of International Relations (London: Verso) Chapter 5, ‘The Empire of Civil Society,’ pp.123-158

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Teschke, Benno (2003) The Myth of 1648: Class, Geopolitics and the Making of Modern International Relations (London: Verso), Chapter 8, ‘Towards the Modern States-System: International Relations from Absolutism to Capitalism,’ pp.249-270 SEE SIDEBAR

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Wetherly, Paul (2005) Marxism and the State: An Analytical Approach (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan), Chapter 7, ‘State Autonomy – A Conceptual Framework,’ pp.156-173

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Wood, Ellen Meiksins (2012) Liberty and Property: A Social History of Western Political Thought from Renaissance to Enlightenment (London: Verso) Chapter 8, ‘Enlightenment or Capitalism?’ pp.289-318

Further Reading

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Abensour, Miguel (2011) Democracy Against the State: Marx and the Machiavellian Moment (Cambridge: Polity Press)

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Avineri, Shlomo (1968) The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx (Cambridge: CUP), Chapter 1, ‘Hegel’s Political Philosophy Reconsidered,’ pp.8-40

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Sinha, Subir and Rashmi Varma (2017) ‘Marxism and Postcolonial Theory: What’s Left of the Debate?’ Critical Sociology, 43(4-5), pp.545-558


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8. Gender and the Theory of the Modern State

Week 9

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Lecture 8 slides

Discussion Questions

  • What is Carole Pateman’s ‘sexual contract’?
  • Why has Catharine Mackinnon’s Toward a Feminist Theory of the State been criticised by so many other feminists?
  • “Marxism and feminism are one and that one is Marxism” (Heidi Harman and Amy Bridges). Do you agree?
  • Is the modern state ‘gendered’?

Set Text

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Pateman, Carole (1988) The Sexual Contract (Cambridge: Polity Press), Chapter 4, ‘Genesis, Fathers and the Political Liberty of Sons,’ pp.77-115

Required Reading

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Mackinnon, Catherine (1989) Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), Chapter 8, ‘The Liberal State,’ pp.157-170

Recommended Reading

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Oksala, Johanna (2013) ‘Feminism and Neoliberal Governmentality,’ Foucault Studies, Vol.16, pp.32-53

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Ursel, Jane (1988) ‘The State and the Maintenance of Patriarchy: A Case Study of Family, Labour and Welfare Legislation in Canada,’ in Family, Economy and the State, eds. James Dickinson and Bob Russel (London: Croom Helm), pp.150-191

Supplementary Reading

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Boucher, Joanne (2003) ‘Male Power and Contract Theory: Hobbes and Locke in Carole Pateman’s The Sexual Contract,’ Canadian Journal of Political Science, 36(1), pp.23-38

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Brown, Wendy (1995) States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity (Princeton: Princeton University Press) Chapter 6, ‘Liberalism’s Family Values,’ pp.135-165 SEE SIDEBAR

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Elshtain, Jean Bethke (2009) ‘Women, the State and War,’ International Relations, 23(2), pp.289-303

Hirschmann, Nancy (1992) Rethinking Obligation: A Feminist Method for Political Theory (Ithaca: Cornell University Press) Chapter 1, ‘The Problem of Women in Political Obligation’

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Hoffman, John (2001) Gender and Sovereignty: Feminism, the State and International Relations (Basingstoke: Palgrave) Chapter 10, ‘A Relational View of Sovereignty,’ pp.185-208 SEE SIDEBAR

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Kantola, Johanna (2005) ‘Feminism,’ in The State: Theories and Issues, eds. Colin Hay, Michael Lister and David Marsh (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan), pp.118-134 SEE SIDEBAR/p>

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Richardson, Janice (2013) ‘Hobbes, Unhealthy Desires and Freedom: A Feminist Reading,’ Feminist Encounters with Legal Philosophy, ed. Maria Drakopoulou (Abingdon: Routledge), pp.50-65

Further Reading

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Butler, Judith (2002) Antigone’s Claim: Kinship between Life and Death (New York: Columbia University Press) Chapter 1, ‘Antigone’s Claim,’ pp.1-26

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Stone, Alison (2010) ‘Matter and Form: Hegel, Organicism and the Difference between Men and Women,’ Chapter 11, Hegel’s Philosophy and Feminist Thought: Beyond Antigone? eds. Kimberly Hutchings and Tuija Pulkkinen (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan), pp.211-232

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Pateman, Carole and Charles W. Mills (2007) The Contract and Domination (Cambridge: Polity Press) Chapter 1, ‘Contract and Social Change,’ pp.10-34


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9. Race and the Theory of the Modern State

Week 10

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Lecture 9 slides (1 of 2)

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Lecture 9 slides (2 of 2)

Discussion Questions

  • What is race? Is it different from ethnicity?
  • What are the similarities and differences between Pateman’s sexual contract and Mill’s racial contract?
  • To what extent does a Critical Racial Theory of the modern state resemble or depart from a neo-Marxist theory of the modern state?
  • What might an ‘intersectional’ theory of the state look like? Is it a ‘good’ theory or not?

Set Text

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Mills, Charles W. (1997) The Racial Contract (Ithaca: Cornell University Press) Chapter 1, ‘Overview’, pp.9-40 SEE SIDEBAR

Required Reading

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Goldberg, David Theo (2001) The Racial State (Oxford: Blackwell) Introduction ‘The State of Race Theory,’ pp.1-13

Recommended Reading

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Jagmohan, Desmond (2015) ‘Race and the Social Contract: Charles Mills on the Consensual Foundations of White Supremacy,’ Politics, Groups and Identities, 3(3), pp.488-503

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Reed, Adolph (2013) ‘Marx, Race and Neoliberalism,’ New Labor Forum, 22(1), pp.49-57

Supplementary Reading

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Bracey, Glenn E. II (2015) ‘Toward a Critical Race Theory of State,’ Critical Sociology, 41(3), pp.553-572

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Duffield, Mark (2007) Development, Security and Unending War: Governing the World of Peoples (Cambridge: Polity Press) Chapter 8, ‘Racism, Circulation and Society,’ pp.184-214

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Gruffydd Jones, Branwen (2015) ‘”Good Governance” and “State Failure: The Pseudo-Science of Statesmen in our Times,’ in Race and Racism in International Relations: Confronting the Global Colour Line, eds. Alexander Anievas, Divi Manchanda and Robbie Shilliam (Abingdon: Routledge), pp.62-80

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James, David R. (2005) ‘Theories of Race and the State,’ Handbook of Political Sociology: States, Civil Societies and Globalisation (Cambridge: CUP), pp.187-198

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Jung, Moon-Kie and Yaejoon Kwon (2013) ‘Theorizing the US Racial State: Sociology Since Racial Formation,’ Sociology Compass, 7(11), pp.927-940

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Omi, Michael and Howard Winant (2015) Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s (London: Routledge) Chapter 5, ‘Racial Politics and The Racial State,’ pp.137-93 SEE SIDEBAR

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Sullivan, Shannon (2007) ‘White Ignorance and Colonial Oppression: Or, why I know so little about Puerto Rico,’ in Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance, eds. Shannon Sullivan and Nancy Tuana (New York: State University of New York Press), pp153-172

Further Reading

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Shelby, Tommie (2007) We Who Are Dark: The Philosophical Foundations of Black Solidarity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press) SEE SIDEBAR

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Wilder, Gary (2015) Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization and the Future of the World (Durham, NC: Duke University Press) SEE SIDEBAR


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10. Conclusions

Week 11

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Lecture 10 slides

Recommended Reading

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Bartelson, Jens (2001) The Critique of the State (Cambridge: CUP) Chapter 6, ‘Conclusion,’ pp.182-188 SEE SIDEBAR

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Geuss, Raymond (2001) History and Illusion in Politics (Cambridge: CUP), Chapter 1, ‘The State,’ pp.14-68


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Essays

Coursework 1

Submission deadline: 3pm, 22nd March 2021
  1. In what respects did Bodin theorise the ‘pre-modern’ state while Hobbes theorised the ‘modern’ state?
  2. ‘As definitions of the location of sovereignty, Hobbes’s “state” and Sieyès’s “nation” are identical. Sieyès’s “nation” is Hobbes’s “Leviathan”. Both are powerful interpretations of the modern civitas’ (Istvan Hont). To what extent, if at all, is Sieyès’s nation comparable to Hobbes’s Leviathan?
  3. How did the growing awareness of the commercial conditions of modern politics during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries impact upon the theory of the state? Discuss with reference to Sieyès and Hegel in particular.
  4. ‘Hobbes is a naturalist whereas Hegel is an idealist; and yet Hobbes’s state is a fiction whereas Hegel’s is organic. Each theory of the state manifests the same contradiction in reverse’. Discuss.
  5. ‘As interesting as it might seem, [Schmitt] presents a rather distorted and historically erroneous view of Sieyes’ thought and has arguably done no service to the understanding of his conceptualisation of people’s power in terms of pouvoir constituant’ (Lucia Rubinelli). Discuss with reference to Schmitt and Sieyès.
  6. To what extent, if at all, do the works of Carl Schmitt and Michel Foucault converge in their critique of the state in modernity?
  7. ‘Politics is the continuation of war by other means’ (Michel Foucault). Discuss with reference to at least two of Hobbes, Schmitt or Foucault.

Coursework 2

Submission deadline: 3pm, 24th May 2021
  1. What is the role of ‘the people’ in the modern state?
  2. ‘All significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts’ (Carl Schmitt). Discuss with reference to AT LEAST TWO of Hobbes, Hegel, Schmitt or Foucault.
  3. Critically evaluate the claim that the modern state is a neutral institution.
  4. Hobbes’s Leviathan is subtitled ‘The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common-wealth’. In what ways is the relationship between matter and form a feature of the intellectual history of the modern state?

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