The essay examines the evolution of the concept of «State», all too often used as a synonym for general political power. First, the State does not have a single origin. The traditional tensions between a centre and a periphery, which were once dominant, are now flanked, in the current «archipelago State», by new tensions deriving from «the breathing of the public sector» and from the life cycles of the State itself. At the end of each cycle, the State is different from the initial conditions in which it was established, both because public power is allocated to different levels and because it changes its way of operating. Globalization is a false alternative to the State, because the State and globalization expand together. Finally, the State now has new competitors, operating without its congenital limit – State borders.