Society is a whole made up of many voluntary associations, each with specific tasks and purposes and includes the family right up to an international forum. Like society, the idea of a community stands for fellowship, personal intimacy and wholeness and is characterized by common ends or feelings. The state is civil services and a government body of institutions and officials with a special purpose of maintaining a compulsory scheme of legal action and acting through laws enforced by direct and positive sanctions current affairs. The state, like society, is national in its scope but differs from society in two respects—(a) It consists of all people who inhabit a particular territory and has the power to use legal coercion, the power of enforcing obedience through sanction of punishment, to decree rules of behavior, (b) other associations because of their being voluntary in nature can enforce social discipline, expect voluntary obedience of its conventions and rules and only in the last resort may expel a deviant member. The state is an association like other associations in the sense that it is a union of human beings that would act as partners to realize the common purpose. However, it is an association with a difference, for it can exercise an all-embracing compulsory jurisdiction within a given territory and is in position to act competently as an umpire to decide between conflicting claims, whether that of individuals or of associations. Michael Walker characterized the state as a primary association. A people who constitute a nation may differ in religion, race, language and ethnic composition but share the same political system. When people identify with others who live within the state they constitute a nation. Nationalism supplied the reasons for people to set aside the internal divisions within a state, a process that has been going on since the sixteenth century.
A state can exist as a juridical entity while a nation needs emotional props. In the works of some of the important political thinkers since the seventeenth century a distinction is made between state and civil services exam. Hobbes, Locke and Hegel are among those who maintain that civil society is the organized society over which the state pervades. However, such a distinction is not seen as being valid as the state is itself part of the society. Civil society is the framework within economic relationships, family and kinship structures, religious, cultural and educational institutions exist. Till the mid seventeenth century civil society was used synonymously with the state. It was between 1750 and 1850 that the term became an important concept in the works of political theorists. The notion originated with the rise of liberalism in an attempt to undermine absolutism in authority and to identify and establish the limits of political authority. The disintegration of the feudal societies and the Protestant Reformation within the Catholic Church brought about the distinction between the political community and the spiritual one. While Hobbes maintains that the state and civil society are identical it is Locke, who reiterates Aristotle and points out to the distinctiveness of the political community from an extended family and that political rule is not paternal. Both Hobbes and Locke interchange features of the existing civil society back into the state of nature in order to demonstrate the natural and rational grounds for establishing a social contract between the individual and a political authority.
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