Discusses Daniel Bell’s reflections on the American State between World War II and the political, economic and social crisis of the 1970s. The A. rejects the traditional image of US as a stateless society and shows how Bell’s sociological approach permits rethinking the American State, pointing out how the coming of post-industrial society brings about a new political organization, which draws on the interplay between public, private and hybrid governmental structures. This fluid and polycentric political organization - the post-industrial State - is presumed to reduce the increasing administrative overload, fueled by the expansion of social programs, and to defuse social unrest. Bell calls for a privatization of some social functions of the State, foreshadowing the contemporary transition from government to governance.
Keywords: Daniel Bell, post-industrial society, State, governance, sociology