In this chapter we move on from expounding individual theories of the liberal democratic state to ask four general questions. First, is focusing on ‘the state’ a fair way of comparing accounts of liberal democratic politics? Or is it biased against those approaches in which the ‘state’ is not a central concept? Second, are there areas of overlap between the alternative theories, and do these ... [Show full abstract] apparent convergences suggest that it is possible to construct an agreed picture of liberal democratic politics by synthesizing existing accounts? Third, even if the various accounts remain distinct, do they share common explanatory problems and modes of responding to them? Are conflicting theories of the state nonetheless structured around similar themes? Finally, how can we decide between the different accounts surveyed? Are there general criteria of plausibility or validity, such as agreed rules about how to integrate theories and empirical evidence? Or do choices between theories reduce to value-judgements about what counts as an interesting or convincing account of democratic politics?