'Limited Statehood: A Critical Perspective' by Thomas Risse published at Oxford Handbooks Online

Thomas Risse

Thomas Risse

The Article is available at the Oxford Handbooks homepage. Members of Freie Universität can access it from within the university network, all others should inquire about the available licences at their library.

News from Oct 13, 2014

The modern fully sovereign state as the template for organizing our understanding of statehood is largely a myth. The most common version of statehood is characterized by “areas of limited statehood”: these are parts of the territory or policy areas in which the central government lacks the capacity to implement decisions and/or its monopoly over the means of violence is challenged. These areas are not ungoverned spaces or lacking governance. Collective goods are often provided under extremely constrained domestic sovereignty—by a variety of state and non-state, local and transnational plus international actors. In this chapter I first conceptualize limited statehood and show its empirical validity as the default situation in the international system. Second, I criticize the prevailing paradigms on statehood and state transformations as biased toward Western and European modernity. Third, I demonstrate that there are functioning alternatives to the “shadow of hierarchy” cast by the state.

Thomas Risse is a professor of international politics at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, and a principal investigator of Collaborative Research Center 700 "Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood".

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