Theory of State - 1st semester


This course offers the theoretical, historical and analytical instruments in order to understand the nature and evolution of the State as a form of political organization. First, by looking at the emergence of the state in Europe and other world regions. Second, by exploring the relationship between States and Societies, focusing the issues of autonomy and capacity. Third, by analyzing in a comparative historical manner the interplay between States and economic development, particularly the issues of capitalism, industrialism and the market. Fourth, by looking at the variable relationships between the form os the state, the economy and political regimes, particularly democratic ones. Lastly, this course studies the evolution of the Portuguese state, both before the main historical dynamics and before a selection of comparative cases.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Rui Branco


Weekly - 3 letivas + 1 tutorial

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





Evans, Peter, Theda Skocpol e Dietrich Rueschmeyer, Bringing the State Back In, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1985, caps. 1, 5, 8 e 10.
Finer, Samuel, A História do Governo. Impérios, Monarquias e o Estado Moderno, vol. III, Mem Martins, Europa-América, 2005, Livro IV, parte II e Livro V
Hay, Colin, Michael Lister e David Marsh, The State. Theories and Issues, Londres, PalgraveMacMillan, 2006, caps. 1-5.
Huber, Evelyne e John Stephens, «Welfare States and the Economy» in Neil Smelser e Richard Swedberg, eds., The Handbook of Economic Sociology, 2ªed., Princteon, Princeton University Press, 2005, pp. 552-574.
Vuo, Tuong, «Studying the State Through State Formation», World Politics, 62 (1), 2010, pp. 148-175.

Teaching method

Lectures introducing the major topics of the course, and presentation and discussion of selected readings by the students.

Evaluation method

1. Term paper (60%), either a review article or an empirical study. Papers are presented and discussed during the last sessions of the curriculum unit;
2. Attendance, participation and presentations in class (40%).

Subject matter

1. The State: alternative concepts and approaches
2. Historical origins of states: Europe in comparative perspective
3. State and Society, autononomy and capacity: religion, class, taxation, administration and coercion
4. State and economic development
5. Welfare-State: origins, variation, challenges
6. The State, market and democracy
7. The Portuguese State in historical comparative perspective


Programs where the course is taught: