This thesis explores how states actually work. My study ethnographically examines local state relations in a rural-urban region in central Serbia, defining the local state not as a bounded, but a grounded, concrete-complex network of relations from the sub-local to the trans-national scales of the state. Substantially, everyday practices in infrastructure, welfare and care provide the matters of concern for local state formation demanded by citizens, valued by state actors, and using up state budgets. Infrastructure work stands for the material promises, hope for the future, and (dis)trust people have in the state. Welfare and care embody the dialectics of inclusion and exclusion, belonging, and shifting solidarities. Formally, my relational approach to the local state along the four axes of embeddedness, boundary work, relational modalities, and strategic selectivity opens a critical vista on the concrete-complex processes of state construction, reproduction and transformation.