What is the relationship between State, Government and Society?
Government is an essential element of the state. People live together but cannot be recognized unless they are properly organized and accept certain rules of conduct. The agency created to enforce such rules of conduct and to ensure obedience is called government. Government is the focus of the common purpose of the people occupying a definite territory and it is through this medium that common policies are determined common affairs are regulated and common interests promoted.
A society embraces the whole life of men and all those ties which bind men together. The state is concerned with those social relationships that express themselve
s through Government. Society exercises authority largely through customs and persuasion. The state exercises authority through laws and coercion. The state alone can legitimately use force. State is a territorial organization while a society does riot occupy and definite territory. The emergence of the state and its dominant position in modern societies can be explained in terms of the functions that it serves in the maintenance of the social system as a whole.
Four major functions of the state can be identified, which are as follows:
Enforcement of Norms: In small, traditional communities norms are usually unwritten and generally enforced by spontaneous community action. In a highly complex and rapidly changing modern society such a system would be unworkable. The state, accordingly takes the responsibility for codifying important norms in the form of law. It also assumes the responsibility for ensuring that these norms are obeyed by applying formal negative sanctions to offenders.
Arbitration of Conflict: The state provides an institutionalized process for determining “who gets what when and how.” The state acts as an arbitrator, or umpire, between conflicting interests, establishing means for resolving disputes and determining policies.
Planning and Direction: A complex modern society requires coordinated and systematic planning and direction. The economy must be closely monitored, welfare must be distributed to the poor. To a greater or lesser degree the decisions much be centralized if uniform and coherent policies are to emerge.
Relations with Other Societies: The state is responsible for political, economical and military relations with other societies.