State and Violence - Social Philosophy

State and violence

The state is inseparable from violence. Still T. Hobbes, continuing the tradition of N. Machiavelli, considered the monopoly of coercion and violence to be the main sign of the state. In the future M. Weber elaborated on this situation in detail. He believed that the state can not be determined by specifying its goals or referring to what it does. States are too diverse to show that a specific task or function is specific to them. A distinctive feature of the state should be sought in the means that it uses. Such a feature is, but Weber, a state-owned "monopoly of legitimate physical violence". The state is the only source of the right to violence; other organizations and individuals receive such a right only to the extent permitted by the state. Proceeding from this, Weber considers the state as a relation of the rule of people over people, based on legitimate, considered legal violence as a means.

Power is the ability of one who possesses it (an individual, a group of people, an organization, a party, a state), impose their will on other people, dispose of them and manage their actions, using violent or non-violent means and methods. Power can not be reduced entirely to the function of violence, because there are various forms of its manifestation and functioning: violence and coercion, punishment and encouragement, control and management, rivalry and cooperation.

In Marxist social philosophy, power is seen as a structural social relation that exists independently of the will of individuals. It is concentrated within the ruling class and can not be separated from economic and class relations.

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With a broader approach to power, characteristic especially for American sociology, power does not necessarily imply conflict and coercion, but is understood as a special kind of influence , i.e. the ability of one individual to change the behavior of another, as a positive social aspiration to achieve the goals of the community. The power, says T. Parsons, occupies a place in the analysis of political systems, much like that occupied by money in economic systems, and acts as a generalized ability to ensure the achievement of the overall goal of the social system. The authorities perform functions to regulate group conflicts and to implement communication within the social system. Being one of the means of payment in politics, the power is applied where other forms of influence do not work or voluntary co-ordination of actions is unenforceable. The complexity of the phenomenon of power is primarily due to the fact that it is simultaneously intentional, which is caused by the orientation of the parties to power relations on interaction, and structural due to the consolidation of the positions of these parties in a particular system of power. Power is something that opens up opportunities and at the same time is compulsory.

The state as a power is not only violence or the threat of violence, punishment and conflict, but also cooperation, exchange, rewards, promises, etc. Although state power can not be reduced entirely to the function of violence, violence is a necessary means of the state.

The state, especially when it comes to the modern state, in which, as in a single body, many diverse conflicting, often incompatible interests, aspirations, attitudes, etc., writes KS Gadzhiev, not is able to ensure the fulfillment of its main function of realizing the common will of its subjects by mere coaxing or relying on their conscientiousness and goodwill. World history did not yet know the state without mechanisms and means to prevent and punish criminal offenses, without a system of correctional institutions. Violence or the threat of violence is a powerful factor restraining people from all kinds of encroachments on the life, freedom, property of other members of society. An indispensable attribute of the state is a man with a gun, an army, police, designed to guarantee the internal and external security of the state itself, and of all its subjects without exception. They constitute an instrument for the enforcement of state policy.

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