Friday, November 18, 2011

The American State: Power Obscured

The American State: Power Obscured,” an interview of William Novak, Michigan Law, and James Sparrow, University of Chicago History, now appears on Books&, “the English-language mirror website of La Vie des Idées, a free online journal which has gained a large readership and established itself in France as a major place for intellectual debate since 2007.”
Finding the American state where historians never looked before: this could be the motto of the new history of the state, of which William Novak and James Sparrow are two of the strongest advocates. To capture the specificity of state formation in the U.S., they encourage historians to look at the mutual constitution of state and society, instead of taking their separation for granted. Their approach is key to understanding the current legitimation crisis undergone by the American state.