Texto para Discussão EESP/FGV, 409, janeiro 2016.
This paper, first, situates the nation-state historically, as a product of the capitalist revolution. Second, it distinguishes the state (the law system and the organization that guarantees it) from the nation-state or country (the territorial political unit formed by a nation, a state and a territory). Third, it defines nation, civil society and class coalitions, understanding that they are forms of society politically organized, which role is to act as intermediary between society and the state. Fourth, it uses these concepts plus the ones of relative autonomy and of anteriority to understand the ever changing relation between the state and society, where in early moments the state or its elites assumed the lead, and later, as democratization takes place, the protagonist role changed gradually to the people. The paper emphasizes the class coalitions, and argues that behind the two basic forms or economic and political organization of capitalism – developmentalism and economic liberalism – there are the correspondent class coalitions.