Building Peace in the Absence of States

Handbook Dialogue No. 8

In the context of fragile or failing states, external assistance needs to review its principles and methods. Berghof Handbook Dialogue 8 vividly illustrates the need to shift from a state-centric view, yet without entirely rejecting the notion of state. At the same time, it shows the difficulties of integrating concepts of political order that do not correspond with the western-style Weberian/Westphalian state. Instead of advocating ideal-type, off-the-shelf models and blue-prints, the contributors to this dialogue argue that historically well-informed analysis, which leads to a deeper contextualized understanding of the local and regional situation on the ground, has to be the bedrock of any attempts for external assistance aimed at peace and development. Evidence and counter-examples come from Somaliland, Afghanistan, Liberia through to the Balkans and East Timor.

  • Martina Fischer & Beatrix Schmelzle (Eds.): Building Peace in the Absence of States: Challenging the Discourse on State Failure. 2009. Handbook Dialogue Series No. 8 - complete. Hardcopy >

Single contributions:

  • Martina Fischer & Beatrix Schmelzle: Introduction. 2009. Handbook Dialogue Series No. 8 - intro. PDF >
  • Volker Boege, Anne Brown, Kevin Clements & Anna Nolan: On Hybrid Political Orders and Emerging States: What is Failing - States in the Global South or Research and Politics in the West?. 2009. Handbook Dialogue Series No. 8 - lead article. PDF >
  • Trutz von Throtha: The "Anderson Principle": On the Difficulty of Truly Moving Beyond State-Centrism. 2009. Handbook Dialogue Series No. 8 - comment. PDF >
  • Susan L. Woodward: A Case for Shifting the Focus: Some Lessons from the Balkans. 2009. Handbook Dialogue Series No. 8 - comment. PDF >
  • Andreas Mehler: Hybrid Regimes and Oligopolies of Violence in Africa: Expectations on Security Provision "From Below". 2009. Handbook Dialogue Series No. 8 - comment. PDF >
  • Susanne Schmeidl & (Masood with Karokhail): "PrĂȘt-a-Porter States": How the McDonalidization of State-Building Misses the Mark in Afghanistan. 2009. Handbook Dialogue Series No. 8 - comment. PDF >
  • Bjoern Hofman: Are Hybrid Political Orders and Appropriate Concept for State-Formation? Timor-Leste Revisited. 2009. Handbook Dialogue Series No. 8 - comment. PDF >
  • Volker Boege, Anne Brown, Kevin Clements & Anna Nolan: Undressing the Emperor. A Reply to our Discussants. 2009. Handbook Dialogue Series No. 8 - final reflection. PDF >
  • List of Acronyms. 2009. Handbook Dialogue Series No. 8 - appendix. PDF >