Two. The Improvised State

  1. Alex Jeffrey

Published Online: 2 AUG 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118278789.ch2

The Improvised State

The Improvised State

How to Cite

Jeffrey, A. (2012) The Improvised State, in The Improvised State, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118278789.ch2

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 2 AUG 2012
  2. Published Print: 10 OCT 2012

Book Series:

  1. RGS-IBG Book Series

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444336993

Online ISBN: 9781118278789



  • improvised state, as a result of a set of improvisations;
  • theatricality at the heart of state, institutions in performing the state;
  • performance incorporated into understandings of political practices;
  • performance/performativity distinction, and implications of schism;
  • critical approaches to the state, and state/society as separate spheres;
  • understanding the state through its effects, from Weber's towards legitimacy;
  • geometry of power/resistance within state building, complex/plural;
  • Butler's linguistic/Goffman's theatricality, boundaries placed on performance;
  • improvisation as a form of resourcefulness, involving creativity/production;
  • the ephemeral with the durable, geographical referents to state projects


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • The State Idea

  • Performance and Performativity

  • Improvisation: Performed Resourcefulness

  • Improvising the State