عنوان مقاله [English]
In past decades of Iran, we have been witnessed a controversial disputes over nature of the state and its functions. After Islamic revolution, a new kind of statism was established upon a vague idea of the state. This vague and even contradictory idea of the state influenced reconstruction process of political system through defining institutions and organizations, and also policymaking processes. This ambiguity not only has resulted in some undesirable social, economic and cultural consequences but also has made difficult any critical evaluation of such institutionalization and policy making. Because of some ambiguity in defining of what is the state and what it must do, criticizing and evaluating of the state in Iran is difficult.
Considering very important role of the state in social life and such enduring disputes, purpose of this article is conceptualizing the state according Weber’s outstanding definition: the organization which monopolizes legitimate violence over a given territory. In other words, it aims to argument for Weberian definition of the state through analyzing this definition.
Methodologically, we use thematic analysis method for identifying essential features (or necessary conditions) of the state as a kind of institution. Based on such analysis, this article’s finding is that the state is a “special political institution”. Accordingly, first of all, the state is a kind of institution like other institutions that societies construct and reconstruct for guarding and improving social life through defining and enforcing rules. Secondly, this institution is not just an institution but a political institution that principally and mainly deals with political power. Being a political institution distinguishes the state from other social institutions that are not political. Moreover, this political institution is a special kind that deals with political power in a special manner. This feature distinguishes the state from other political institutions like gangs. Alternatively, the state uses political power or violence territorially (or in a given territory), exclusively (by trying to prevent others from any kind of using violence) and legitimately (by claiming such legitimacy). So, firstly and principally, the state is a political institution not an economic or cultural.
Such findings may be very important for settling down controversial disputes over functions of the state in societies like Iran and especially for arguments against defenders of such vague statism. By resorting to such conceptualization, we can reveal ambiguities and even contradictions in official positions concerning nature of the state and its functions in Iran. In more concrete level, such a perspective will be helpful for evaluating and criticizing general and special policies originated from such a vague statism. For example, from this perspective, we can criticize economic and cultural policies that takes its legitimacy from a vague and even contradictory definition of the state. In addition, introducing this idea of the state will have cultural effects and will provide a very useful different perspective for ordinary people. If we accept that the state is first of all and principally a political institution for securing security by ordering force and political power using, legitimating of statism will be more difficult.