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Coming and Going: On the State Monopolization of the Legitimate "Means of Movement"

John Torpey
Sociological Theory
Vol. 16, No. 3 (Nov., 1998), pp. 239-259
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/202182
Page Count: 21
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Coming and Going: On the State Monopolization of the Legitimate "Means of Movement"
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Abstract

Following the imagery of "expropriation" used by Marx to describe the process of capitalist development and by Weber to characterize states' monopolization of the legitimate use of violence, I argue that modern states have also "expropriated the legitimate means of movement" and monopolized the authority to determine who may circulate within and cross their borders. Against this background, we should reconsider the metaphor of "penetration" typically used to discuss the enhanced capacity of modern states relative to their predecessors, and instead think of states as "embracing" populations, identifying persons unambiguously in order to control their movements and to distinguish members from nonmembers.

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