The Two Approaches on the State


“Logu i Shkëndijes” social center
Rr. Abdulla Keta 1
Tirana, Albania

The Institute for Critique and Social Emancipation Tirana (ICSE), a partner organisation of transform! europe, is hosting a lecture followed by a discussion on the theory of the state.


There is a dominant view in political sciences, especially in advanced capitalist countries, according to which the state with all its institutions is a space where are gathered the interests of different social forces. Basically, different groups and individuals are part of state decision-making. This democratic-pluralist approach according to Ralph Miliband categorically excludes the concept of the state as a special institution in the hands of a certain class, which protects the interests of the latter.

Contrary to the democratic-pluralist view, in the Marxist theory of the state, based on historical materialism, there are two conceptions of the role of the state in relation to classes or society. On the one hand is the instrumental approach that sees the state as a space ruled by state elites who represent the interests of the economically ruling classes. On the other hand, there is the autonomist approach, articulated especially by the structuralists, whose main interpreter is Nicos Poulantzas. According to this point of view the state has a relative autonomy in relation to the economic structure, which is a consequence of the division of labor within society. The beginnings of this interpretation can be found with different nuances in Marx and Engels, and later in Gramsci, Althusser and Poulantzas.

We will try to talk about these issues in more detail at the meeting on November 24.

A lecture by:Alfred Bushi

Interpretation: Albanian

Organised by: Instituti për Kritikë dhe Emancipim Shoqëror / Institute for Critique and Social Emancipation in co-operation with transform! europe

23 Nov 2022, 18:30 (CET)
Logu i Shkëndijes” social center
Tirana, Albania