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Research Project C6 - The Politics of State- and Security-Building in Areas of Limited Statehood

Principal Investigator:
Jan 01, 2010 — Dec 31, 2017

Over the past two decades international actors have repeatedly intervened in the wake of armed conflict in order to secure fragile peace and to support the rebuilding of weak state institutions. The state institutions responsible for the use of force have become a key focus of targeted reform efforts designed to build capacity to govern and extend state authority. However, in some cases external security assistance can make conflicts more volatile, and thus increases the risk of destabilizing rather than pacifying post-conflict states. Our research investigates these potentially adverse consequences and provides a deeper empirical analysis of how domestic political conditions in areas of limited statehood shape and structure the effects of state and security building processes that are externally assisted after violent conflict.

Research Project C6 primarily seeks to explain under what conditions international security interventions undermine or consolidate the reconstruction of state institutions in areas of limited statehood. Often characterized by continuous factionalized struggles over power between competing societal and political forces, the state in these situations is only one institution among many that seeks to control societal and political order. The project focuses on the complex struggles between these multiple sets of formal and informal political actors over the distribution of power andresources as well as over the rules of the political game in a specific territory. The project conducts qualitative, comparative case research in West Africa (Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia) and the Middle East (Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories) to study the influence of international security interventions on state-building after war.

Moreover, the project traces changes in core international narratives on state building. As dominant narratives of liberal international state building have come under increased criticism, we investigate whether and how perceptions on the recipient side and experiences with international interventions feed back into the ongoing transformation of state building strategies at the international level. The project empirically studies the role of different  regional and transnational actor networks on the recipient side  in regard to shaping the evolution of international state building strategies, e.g. the recently established International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding

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