State Notes 11th Political Science for Tnpsc Exam

State Notes 11th Political Science for Tnpsc Exam

11th Political Science Lesson 2 Notes in English

2. State


  • Political Science is the systematic study of State. We all live in State. The world is viewed as an embodiment of many States.
  • State as an idea or a concept is derived from a historical process of political, cultural, religious and economic contexts of a region.
  • Today when the word ‘State’ is mentioned and used it usually indicate the modern State. The world today comprises of modern States.
  • Modern State is a public order completely different from the pre-modern notion comprising of a body politics consisting of the rulers and the ruled.
  • Hence a proper understanding of what State is and what not is quite essential to students of political science.
  • Yes, we all live in ‘State’. We start to interact with the State even without a proper awareness of State.
  • The road facilities, health care, electricity, water, and sanitation are a few examples that connect us with the State.
  • State compels us to do certain things and at the same time restrains us from doing certain things.
  • Any failure to obey the State will lead to punishment. Hence one can conclude that law and freedom of State are subjected to certain conditions laid by the State itself.
  • State also ensures that our lives and property are protected.
  • Thus whether we are interested or not, the State is certainly interested in us as its population.

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Meaning and Definition of State

  • The State is the most universal and most powerful of all social institutions. The State is a natural institution.
  • Aristotle said ‘Man (Human) is a social animal and by nature s/he is a political being. To him, to live in the State and to be a man were identical.

  • The modern term ‘state’ is derived from the word ‘status’.
  • It was Niccolo Machiavelli (1469 – 1527) who first used the term ‘State’ in his writings.
  • The state is necessary because it comes into existence out of the basic needs of life. It continues to remain for the sake of good life.
  • The aims, desires, and aspirations of human beings are translated into action through the State.
  • Though the State is a necessary institution, no two writers agree on its definition.
  • This disagreement makes the study of the State more creative and interesting.
  • For instance, we have social Contract theory in political science.
  • The three main thinkers associated with social contract theory are Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean Jack Rousseau.
  • The three thinkers collectively agree that humans need to be controlled by the State.
  • At the same time, they disagree on to what extent the control can be exercised by the State on humans.

Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean Jack Rousseau on Social contract theory

Essential Elements of State

  • Thus, from the above descriptions, you can easily conclude that State should have certain essential components.
  • The state is a set of institutions which has an unquestionable authority over people.
  • It is hence all modern States have their own Constitution that moderates the freedom and privileges of the citizens of the State with the coercive and unquestionable power of the State.
  • Hence Constitution is considered as a limiting agent on the overwhelming authority of the State.
  • The Montevideo Convention on Rights and Duties of States held in 1933 gave the fundamental understanding of State.
  • A State must have a permanent population, a defined territory and a government that can control the territory and its people and conducts international relations with other States.
  • Consequently, the recognition of a State by other States becomes crucial for the legitimacy of the State from an external point of view.
  • You would be reading more when you read about Sovereignty.

Let us attempt to understand what the essential elements of State are?

  • Think of India as a State and try to answer what makes India, our country to qualify for a State? Firstly, India has a well-defined territory.
  • In India we the people, Indians live. We Indians have our Government.
  • India is a State that has a status in the world and exists independently.
  • India is not bound by the rules of any other State. It can enter into treaties with other States.
  • We have our diplomats in all countries and their offices are called ‘Diplomatic Mission’.
  • An Indian Embassy in the USA is generally known as ‘India in the USA’.
  • In Puducherry, the Consulate General of France is called France in India.


  • It is the people who make the State. The population is essential for the State.
  • What should be the size of the population has been a debate by thinkers from ancient time.
  • According to Plato, the ideal number would be 5040.
  • According to Aristotle, the number should be neither too large nor too small.
  • It should be large enough to be self – sufficient and small enough to be well governed.
  • Rousseau determined 10,000 to be an ideal number for a State.
  • Ancient thinkers view on the number was based on the small cityStates like Athens and Sparta.
  • The modern States vary in population. India has a population of 121.02 cr people according to 2011 census of India.


  • Can State be without territory? Certainly not. People need territory to live and to organize themselves socially and politically.
  • It may be remembered that the territory of the State includes land, water, and air space. The modern States differ in their sizes.
  • The territory is necessary for citizenship. As in the case of population, no definite size with regard to extent of the area of the State can be fixed.
  • There are small and big States. In the words of Prof. Elliott, “Territorial sovereignty or the superiority of State, overall within its boundaries and complete freedom from external control has been a fundamental principle of the modern State life”.
  • India has an area of 32,87,263 sq. km. approximately India occupies 2.4% of the global area. The opening article of the Indian Constitution speaks about the Territory of India.


  • Government is the working agency of the State. It is the political organization of the State.
  • Indian political scientist Prof.A. Appadurai defined government as the agency through which, the will of the State is formulated, expressed and realized.
  • According to C.F. Strong, in order to make and enforce laws, the State must have a supreme authority.
  • Government is a fixed structure. Political executives who get elected to offices may change but Government as a system is a permanent body of State.
  • The State existed before the people come to power and it will exist after these men and women in power leaves the control of the State.


  • The fourth essential element of the State is sovereignty. The word ‘sovereignty” means supreme and final legal authority above.
  • No legal power can exist beyond sovereignty. The concept of “sovereignty” was developed in conjunction with the rise of the modern State.
  • The term Sovereignty is derived from the Latin word “superanus” which means “supreme”.
  • In a traditional understanding, the characteristics of sovereignty are absoluteness, permanence, universality, indivisibility, exclusiveness, and inalienability.
  • The father of the modern theory of sovereignty was Jean Bodin (1530 – 1597) a French political thinker.
  • According to Harold J. Laski, “It is by possession of sovereignty that the State is distinguished from all other forms of human association”.
  • Human Association would mean anything from family, society and even voluntary organization similar kinds through which humans identify themselves together.

Society, state and Government

  • Let us examine what Society, State and Government mean and how are they interrelated.

Society, State and Government – How are they interrelated?

  • Each one of us live simultaneously in family, society, and State.
  • What does this mean?
  • How society and State are interrelated?
  • What is government to do with the State and the society?
  • Historically when humans evolved from hunters and gatherers to a settled community, they started to produce goods.
  • Group of families constituted a community and a group of communities constituted what we call as a society.
  • Individuals for their emotional need that is often reciprocal lived in the family.
  • Families came together under the umbrella of the community for a greater objective of security.
  • The communities so formed made a higher level of organization called society solely to live in an organized manner where each ones’ need is met out by the collective output of the whole.

Need of The State for guide

  • Thus when an individual is labouring for earning his food there arose an inevitable situation that labour results in productivity.
  • The produced goods thus required a market supplemented by the invention of another institution called trade.
  • When goods are produced and marketed, it is clear that the situation could turn in favour of a few who are mighty.
  • When society is governed by the rule of might, then ultimately that would cause the society to disintegrate and fall apart.
  • When society degenerates, it has a consequent effect on the communities and ultimately upon its constituent families and each and every individual would lead to suffering.
  • Thus, it was, for this reason, humans came together, guided by reason felt the need of the State.
  • State came into existence out of an imminent need that in the absence of a centralized and a coercive authority human cannot be saved from each other.
  • This control in modern States is done legally through a set of rules and regulations.
  • In a democracy, these rules and regulations are framed by the legislature, enforced by the executive and the judiciary adjudicates the made laws and the implemented laws on the basis of their legality and judiciousness.
  • The function of law making, implementing and interpreting is the function of government. You will read more about this as separation of powers.

Major differences between the State and the Society

  • The society consists of a large number of individuals, families, groups, and institutions.
  • The early political thinkers considered both State and society as one. The state is a part of society but is not a form of society.
  • The membership of the State and society are the same. But they differ as regards to their purpose.
  • The State exists for one great but single, purpose; society exists for a number of purposes; some great and some small.
  • From the point of view of the organization, the State is a single organization – legal, whereas society comprises within itself many organizations.
  • The State exercises its control over humans by coercion and exact obedience. On the other hand, the society employs a method of voluntary action.
  • The purposes for which society exists makes the persuasive methods necessary.
  • The multiplicity of the organization of society gives ample opportunity to the members to relinquish one association and join another in the event they are subject to any coercion.
  • Thus you must understand a State without a centralized authority of coercive force and a society without the method of persuasion will fall apart.

State and Government

  • Government is often used with the ‘State’ as a synonym. But both the government and the State are two different entities.
  • There are differences between the State and the government. They are explained in the table given below.

Modern State

  • Before examining the functions of Modern State, you must understand
  • What is Modernity?
  • What is called as a Modern State?
  • Modernity in historical term means the period of questioning the tradition or rejecting the age-old set of beliefs, practices and socio-cultural norms.
  • Modernity laid the foundations of the prioritization of individualism, freedom, equality, fostering of scientific temper in every walk of life and thus modernity led humans from agrarianism towards industrialization, urbanization, and secularization.
  • This intellectual shift drastically influenced the understanding of the society, State and government.
  • For instance, the efforts of Raja Ram Mohan Roy to reform the Indian society are directly linked with the influence of western modernity on Indian thinkers.
  • In Political science, modernity impacted on the concepts of State, liberty, equality, justice and so on.
  • For instance, the meaning of patriots, revolution, rights, privileges, sovereignty was understood differently given their historical context.
  • Similarly, the term State was understood differently during the time of the Greek City State.
  • State means completely different when it is referred to a modern State as a form of political organization evolved in modern western Europe dating to medieval ages.
  • The rational foundation of modern State is often argued to be the treaty of Westphalia signed in the year 1648.
  • The idea of modern State was exported throughout the world during the nineteenth century by the process of European Colonization.
  • The South Asian States that became independent from colonial control after second world war can be brought under the umbrella of post-colonial States.
  • It can be compared with the post-colonial States of the other parts of the world to assess their relative merits and drawbacks for improving their governance systems.

Functions of Modern State

  • The modern State is a developed State. The State should strive to keep its people secure and safe.
  • The State should ensure that its borders are sealed and protected.
  • The market needs to be integrated into the society by a well-knit macroeconomic structure.
  • ‘Citizen first’ should be the motto of all the activities of the State.
  • The sole principle of governance of modern State is whether the action of the State leads to the promotion of the welfare of its people.
  • Accordingly, the State engages itself as a provider of essential services.
  • It is largely accepted that the modern State focuses on three main functions.

Security and Defense

  • The States of today’s world consider the meaning of security from multiple standpoints.
  • Terms like Human Security have emerged to put citizens first.
  • Inspired by the philosopher Immanuel Kant’s idea of perpetual peace, the States of the world came together as ‘league of nations’ and later as the ‘United Nations Organisation and have been debating the terms security and defence in terms of promoting peace.

Economic functions

  • The modern state is supposed to intervene in the economic functions of the political system.
  • The State needs to support the people, make them realize their potential for their betterment.
  • Try understanding what Martha Nusbaum explain about ‘capabilities’ and what does Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen’s ideas on ‘capability approach’.
  • Protecting consumers, weaker sections, investing in areas where there is no profit are those included in the economic functions of the modern state.

Provision of Essential Services

  • From ‘cradle to grave’ modern state is supposed to care for its citizens.
  • The fundamental needs such as food, clean drinking water, providing education, healthcare, and social security for the population are the responsibilities of the modern state.
  • You can find the number of schemes and projects of Government of India and the various state governments to be in this direction.
  • The noon meal scheme and the nutrition’s meal schemes in all Government schools initiated by the Government of Tamil Nadu and adopted in different parts of the country is one such example.
  • The modern State strived for the welfare of its people and hence another concept came into existence called ‘Welfare State’.

Concept of Welfare State

  • Have you ever noticed that the Directive principles of the State policy of the Indian Constitution have been placarding the western European idea of the Welfare State?
  • Have you ever thought why the propelling mechanisms of socio-economic development have been kept in Part IV of the Constitution as an advisory to the State whereas the guarantee of political and civil rights has been made as a non-negotiable guarantee as Fundamental Right?
  • What is the reason?
  • Why could economic rights figure as the part of Fundamental right in the constitution?
  • It is a reality that the abundance of resources with a minimal population has been the main reason for the successful functioning of welfare State model.
  • The Scandinavian countries are excellent examples of welfare State.
  • Though the Constitution of India strives for a welfare State the non-abundance of resources and a huge population has been the impediment in realizing the goals of the Welfare State.
  • The concept of welfare State has its origin in Western Europe after the Second World War.

Welfare state plays a vital role in Human Developement

  • The main idea of welfare State is that the government of welfare State plays a vital role in human development.
  • The role of the welfare State extends to the protection and promotion of the well being of its citizens.
  • The economic and social well being of the citizens is based on

(1) The principle of equality of opportunity

(2) Equitable distribution of wealth

(3) Public responsibility for those who cannot afford themselves the minimal provisions for leading a good life.

  • India before independence was a Colonial State under British rule.
  • Indians were subjects of the English crown.
  • Once India attained Independence, we had our Constitution that has been deeply inspired by the western model of welfare State.

Concept of Soft State

  • Nobel Laureate Karl Gunnar Myrdal identified what he called as societal indiscipline in the Asian States when compared to the western countries.
  • He identified this societal indiscipline as the characteristics of soft State.
  • Social indiscipline, corruption, and weak law enforcement are the main characteristics of a soft State.
  • The post-colonial developing States are generally categorized as soft States where their institutions of governance are not fully developed.
  • Our inability to adhere to standards and to enforce law and maintain discipline makes our country as a soft State.
  • A soft State cannot advance further in refining its democratic values.
  • As a student identify the list of social indiscipline and the ways of correcting them from your view.

Concept of Over Developed State

  • Almost all the States of South Asia are modern democracies.
  • Yet, what makes them lag behind the western countries in development?
  • When the institutions of governance such as the Parliament, the bureaucracy, and the planning machinery are imported and customized during colonial times, why is it that development is a slow process in these countries?
  • Hamza Alawi, explains the case of the gover nability crisis of Pakistan and Bangladesh using the concept of Over Developed State.
  • Overdeveloped State is an explanation offered to the ineffectiveness of the functioning of post-colonial States that operate with the similar structure of bureaucratic governance before and after their independence.
  • Despite political liberation, the transformative approach did not percolate down the administrative structure of the States after they emerged free from the colonial yoke.
  • The colonial powers of western Europe maintained double standards in designing the polity of the colonized States.

The colonial power and colonial state

  • When their respective States recognized political life, liberty and economic freedom of its citizens and in total the State was like a pet for its people, on the contrast the States were over centralized with unquestionable power in the colonized States.
  • Such an arrangement was congenial to the colonizers to have unfretted siphoning of wealth from their colonies.
  • This massive exploitation was effectively engineered by the bureaucracy that continued the colonial legacy even after independence with no or little change in the attitude of the political class that replaced the colonial masters.
  • When the State gets increasingly modernized when the society and its economy are lagging behind without modernization the State and the society grossly mismatched each other.
  • This creates a divide between the people and the State’s apparatus.
  • What is good for people are not decided by them in a representative democracy but by an influential few.
  • In the case of Pakistan and Bangladesh, Hamza Alawai coins the word ‘military bureaucracy oligarchy’ that is similar to the license raj of India and over-centralization as a continuation of colonial legacy that has been constantly addressed by the government of India.

Concept of post-colonial State

  • Do you know why police personnel in western countries are not feared as they are in the countries that were colonized by the same western countries?
  • Can you find out the reason why Government servants in our country are looked up with utmost respect as a superior when they are looked with equal footage in the western countries?
  • At the same time can you identify the benefits of colonization?
  • Can you list them?
  • Post-colonial State is the name of new nation States that have emerged out of the process of decolonization after the Second World War.
  • Post-colonial State is used synonymously with developmental State.
  • The post-colonial State has the features of colonial State as far as the political institutions are concerned but there is only a shift in the objective of these institutions.
  • In general, post-colonial States exhibit a high degree of poverty, political instability and the crisis of governance.
  • The mismatch between the society with its traditional power structure overlapping with modern States has largely resulted in such a situation.
  • It is obvious that the Colonial powers that ventured into newer worlds destroyed the main parts of native traditions and cultures and further constantly replaced “My understanding about over developed state was different earlier” them with their own ones.
  • This cultural import led to conflicts as and when they became independent as they suddenly faced the challenge of developing a new national identity and self-confidence.
  • This is one of the aspects why the sharp divide of the ruler and ruled remained in post-colonial States whereby the State actors tend to behave with an upper hand.

More To Know:

Definition of State

  • To Woodrow Wilson, “State is people organized for law within a definite territory.”
  • Aristotle defined the State as a “union of families and villages having for its end a perfect and self – sufficing life by which it meant a happy and honorable life”.
  • To Holland, the State is “a numerous assemblage of human beings generally occupying a certain territory amongst whom the will of the majority or class is made to prevail against any of their number who oppose it.”
  • Burgess defines the State as “a particular portion of mankind viewed as an organised unit.”
  • According to Sidgwick. “State is a combination or association of persons in the form of government and governed and united together into a politically organised people of a definite territory.”
  • According to Garner, “State is a community of people occupying a definite form of territory free of external control and possessing an organised government to which people show habitual obedience.”
  • Prof. Laski defines “State as a territorial society divided into government and subjects whose relationships are determined by the exercise of supreme coercive power.”

Census 2011

  • The post-independence census in the country has been conducted once in ten years.
  • Under the constitutional provisions by notification under the census Act 1948.
  • In the last census, operations conducted in our country in 2011, the enumerators and supervisors has focused on the house listing and housing Census.
  • The type of information gathered on the household, its head, amenities and assets.
  • It also includes the total number of residents, use of the census house and material used for floor, wall and roof.
  • Other details include the name of the head of the household, gender, community, ownership, number of dwelling rooms, number of married couples.
  • The enumerators would also seek details on the amenities available in the household such as sources of drinking water outlet, latrine, waste water outlet, bathing facility, kitchens and fuel used for cooking.
  • They would record information, on the use of banking services and assets, such as radio, TV, computer, internet connection, telephone, bicycle, motorcycle and car.

Plato on about Population

  • According to Plato, the ideal number of State is 5040. The reason is the number 5040 is divisible by numbers from 1 to 12.
  • In the case of 11 the reminder is 2.
  • During the time of emergency the population can be divided in various columns and instructions could be given.

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