Main Objectives and Research Program

The Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 700 “Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood” focuses on the following questions:

  • How can effective and legitimate governance be sustained in areas of limited statehood?
  • What problems emerge under such conditions?
  • Which consequences may arise from non-state governance for national and international politics?

SFB 700 analyzes governance – the diverse forms and modes of ruling – in areas in which state authority is limited. How are public goods produced when states do not effectively exercise a monopoly of force? How are binding rules determined and enforced when states lack basic capacities? 

Conventional governance research tends to take some core elements of modern statehood for granted. These core elements manifest themselves as an institutional, normative constellation characteristic of the modern state. However, our research is covering regions outside the OECD world and historical areas of limited statehood where this constellation is typically either missing, or it is replaced by functional equivalents. In order for us to identify the great variety of different forms of ruling in areas of limited statehood, it was necessary to do a cultural translation of our research concept. Translation in this context is referring to an adaptation to the unique socio-political conditions on the ground. After having determined these diverse forms and modes of ruling in our previous research, during the third funding period we now intend to analyze them in regard to their effectiveness. Our objective is an empirically based theory formation dealing first and foremost with the conditions of success of effective governance. In pursuing this research question we pay special attention to four factors that we judged to be critical in determining the success or failure of a certain way of ruling:

  1. the level of institutionalized forms established under a specific governance as well as
  2. the degree of residual statehood,
  3. the empirical legitimacy and
  4. the social trust at the particular place of performance.

Related to the question on the effectiveness of governance in areas of limited statehood we investigate how empirical legitimacy of governance is actually created on site. Furthermore, we intend to identify the consequences of the analyzed forms of ruling to then evaluate them and make policy recommendations. During this evaluation stage we specifically look at the impact of complex governance arrangements on state, statehood, and the international system. In addition, we determine different ways to coordinate the involved actors and to mediate between the different normative demands (meta-governance). Finally, we pose the inevitable question on the worthiness of recognition and social justice.