Weber and Marshall on the State

J. M. Barbalet*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The conventional understanding of Weber's discussion of state legitimacy and Marshall's treatment of citizenship and social class are partial and distorted. Rather than endorse the view that the modern state is based on legalrational legitimacy Weber's analysis shows that the state in class society is without legitimacy and that its political domination is based on coercion and manipulation. While Marshall does argue that the expansion of citizenship rights tend to reduce aspects of class inequality he also shows that the working class can use the legal and other advantages of ‘industrial citizenship’ to improve the conditions of its struggle with capital. Our understanding of state mediation is improved by an appreciation of Weber's and Marshall's full contributions to a consideration of these matters, even though their positions do contain certain limitations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-19
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes


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