| My summaries of the theories of the state included
here are based on the theoretical foundations provided by Dunleavy
and O'Leary (1987) in their book "Theories of the State"
(Basingstoke, MacMillan). I have returned to this book to search
for mythical levels in a way the authors certainly did not intend,
and probably would not approve of, and I apologise for this. Their
book contains references to more than 500 other sources, however
I will only refer to and quote from Dunleavy and O'Leary's work
- it seems to me that their book is a re-organisation and systemisation
of all previous knowledge and research. It stands alone as a sort
of 'fresh start'.
Summary of Theories of the State
In Dunleavy and O'Leary's system, there are five main bodies of
theories of the State:- Pluralism, the New Right, Elite Theory,
Marxism, and neo-Pluralism. To some extent these overlap, and
no doubt other authors organise the 'theory space' differently,
however, I am happy to proceed on their basis. I attempt to give
a brief summary of each theory type on the following pages. It
seems to me that although there are no myths with a staying-power
equivalent to the 'three kings', there are two valid ways of approaching
a mythical dimension in these theories. The first is that each
Theory group contains one or more implicit "ideal states"
which its subscribers are drawn to, and in some cases this seems
to be the equivalent of a 'sacred virtue' to them. Secondly, each
theory group contains an image where the theories have developed
as an antithesis to this stereotype. This is particularly true
of Marxism where there is a reaction against "The Capitalist"
bogey man . I do not want to get involved in the exact relationship
between the development of the theories and "Negative Stereotypes",
except to note the existence of these "Bogey Men" in
most political and governmental systems.
The mythic level of Theories of the State
We find here that there is clearly a mythic level operating in
these five theories of the state: sometimes as an ideal, sometimes
as a negative stereotype to be avoided and worked against, sometimes
as a positive image, and occasionally a theory system containing
all of these aspects. It is, however, impossible to make a set
of direct links with the (archaic) elites I have found
in the various types of Mythic systems.