by Dan Jakopovich
The primary unit of social analysis has to remain the global capitalist system vis a vis the state. Although a crude base-superstructure model is inadequate for the purpose of serious analysis, it is necessary to oppose statist, technocratic, and functionalist discourses which undervalue the external dynamics induced by the global capitalist system.
This short overview will deal with enquiries into one of the basic social issues, the conclusion to which induces a complex multiplicity of repercussions for the fields of sociology, international relations and practical politics, repercussions which are often difficult to demarcate.
It is the question of what should be the primary unit of social analysis – the state (and states) or the global capitalist system. I will mostly deal with basic Marxist theories, which offer the principal challenge to various currents that are sometimes characterised as forms of “statist fetishism”, where the theorist is seduced by the deceptive semblance of state autonomy. This is especially attributed to many international relations approaches, because it is largely through states that international relations are expressed. Sometimes it is argued that the manifestation is put before the underlying root-causes. Continue reading “should we be looking at states or the capitalist system?”