Crisis Tendencies, Legitimation and the State
Habermas’s writings on advanced capitalist societies represent an important contribution to social theory. In conjunction with his colleagues he has helped to direct our understanding of the organisational principles of society away from old dogmas — dogmas asserting, for instance, that the state is merely ‘a system of coercion to support the dominant class’ or that it is ‘a coalition balancing all legitimate interests’. Since the advantages of Habermas’s work over less sophisticated approaches have been succinctly emphasised elsewhere, I shall focus this essay, first, on a brief account of his work and, second, on a number of problems which, I think, weaken its utility and scope. 1
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