State as Historical Necessity
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State as Historical Necessity: Robert Nisbet’s Critique of Developmentalism. (2019). The Political Science Reviewer, 42(2), 431-468.


The American sociologist Robert Nisbet was famous for his critique of modern political power as arising from the state's intrusion into the formerly autonomous realm of social groups. While this critique formed the main body of his scholarship, a secondary field was his critique of “developmentalism,” an understanding of social and historical change that draws from the organic metaphor of growth and decay to assert the inevitability and directionality of social change. Nisbet believed that this understanding of social change gave impetus and force to the rise of the modern state by describing its growth as the inevitable outcome of necessary historical processes. This article describes Nisbet’s idea and critique of developmentalism and explains how he believed it contributed to the rise of the modern state.

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