From ‘Failed States’ to ‘States of Fragility’:
Logic of Conceptual Acrobatics
Cand. Sci. (Hist.), Associate Professor, Department of International Organizations and World Political Processes, Director of Center for Security and Development Studies, School of World Politics, Lomonosov Moscow State University, firstname.lastname@example.org_id: 627475 |
This paper tracks the evolution and interactions of Western policy and academic discourses on statehood. With help of scientometrics it demonstrates that dynamics and trajectory of conceptualization of these terms were first framed by the end of the Cold War and later by the terrorist attacks of 9/11. However, the adoption of the first doctrinal documents on international engagement in fragile states in 2005 substantially altered the discourse. Instrumentalization of the ‘fragile state’ concept made it subject to a rigorous critique that revealed several drawbacks – political bias, normativity, state-centrism etc. Seeking to mitigate these limitations, scholars, experts and policymakers switched attention from ‘fragile states’ to ‘states of fragility’, elaborated multi-dimensional typology of fragility and borrowed the ‘resilience’ concept and a number of related terms from the theory of complex adaptive systems. These changes – influenced partly by geopolitical shifts – might help abandon outdated reductionist interpretations of state failure and de-dogmatize the discourse. Use of such concepts as ‘resilience’, ‘stability’, ‘external disruptions’, ‘risks’ favors a holistic approach to political systems which will take into account their complex interactions with the international system and the environment. However, it seems highly probable that the new concept might suffer from the same drawbacks, such as ambivalence. To avoid this risk, scholars will have to develop new techniques of measuring resilience of social systems to various kinds of disruptions, which, in turn, might help build efficient systems of early warning.
Andersen L. Fragile States on the International Agenda. – Engberg-Pedersen L. et al. Fragile Situations: Background Papers. DIIS Report 11. Copenhagen: DIIS. 2008. P. 7-19.
Bartenev V.I. “Security – Development Nexus” in Western Bibliography from Deconstruction to Contextualization. – International Trends. 2015. Vol. 13. No. 3. P. 78-97. (In Russ.) DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.17994/IT.2015.13.2.42.5
Batley R., Mcloughlin C. Engagement with Non-State Service Providers in Fragile States: Reconciling State-Building and Service Delivery. – Development Policy Review. 2010. Vol. 28. No. 2. P. 131-154. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7679.2010.00478.x
Bilgin P., Morton A. D. From ‘Rogue’ to ‘Failed’ States? The Fallacy of Short-termism. – Politics. 2004. Vol. 24. No. 3. P. 169-180. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9256.2004.00217.x
Bøås M., Jennings K. Failed States and State Failure: Threats or Opportunities? – Globalizations. 2007. Vol. 4. No. 4. P. 475-485. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14747730701695729
Brooks R. Failed States, or the State as Failure? – The University of Chicago Law Review. 2005. Vol. 72. No. 4. P. 1159-1196.
Bueger Ch., Bethke F. Actor-networking the ‘Failed State’ – An Enquiry into the Life of Concepts. – Journal of International Relations and Development. 2014. No. 17. P. 30–60. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1057/jird.2012.30
Call C.T. Beyond the Failed State: Toward Conceptual Alternatives. – European Journal of International Relations. 2011. Vol. 17. No. 2. P. 303-326. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1354066109353137
Carment D., Press S., Samy Y. Security, Development, and the Fragile State: Bridging the Gap between Theory and Policy. London & New York: Routledge. 2010. 304 p.
Center for Institutional Reform and the Informal Sector at the University of Maryland. PPC IDEAAS Annual Report: 1 October 2003-30 September 2004. College Park: University of Maryland. 93 p. 2004.
Chandler D. Empire in Denial: The Politics of State-Building. London: Pluto Press. 2006. 240 p. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0192512113480054
Ghani A., Lockhart C. Fixing Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World! Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2008. 272 p.
Grävingholt, J., Ziaja S., Kreibaum M. State Fragility: Towards a Multidimensional Empirical Typology. Bonn: German Development Institute. 2012. 49 p. URL: https://www.die-gdi.de/uploads/media/DP_3.2012.pdf (accessed 12.01.2017).
Hagmann T., Hoehne M.V. Failures of the State Failure Debate: Evidence from the Somali Territories. – Journal of International Development. 2009. Vol. 21. No. 1. P. 42-57. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jid.1482
Helman G.B., Ratner S.R. Saving Failed States. – Foreign Policy. 1992. Vol. 89. No. 3. P. 3-20.
Holling C.S. Resilience and Stability of Ecological Systems. – Annual Review of Ecological Systems. 1973. No. 4. P. 1-23. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.es.04.110173.000245
Independent Commission on Multilateralism. Fragile States and Fragile Cities. Discussion Paper. December 2015. URL: https://www.icm2016.org/IMG/pdf/discussion_paper-fragile_states_and_cities_final.pdf (accessed 12.01.2017).
Jackson R.H. Quasi-states: Sovereignty, International Relations, and the Third World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1990. 225 p.
Kudryashova I.V. State Solvency as the Criterion Legitimation New States. – Comparative Politics Russia. 2011. No. 3. P. 20-36. (In Russ.) DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.18611/2221-3279-2011-2-3(5)-20-36
Meleshkina E.Y. Stateness of Post-Soviet Territorial Polities. – Comparative Politics Russia. 2012. Vol. 3. No. 1. P. 118-133. (In Russ.) DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.18611/2221-3279-2012-3-1(7)-118-132
Melville A.Yu., Il’in M.V., Meleshkina E.Ju. Politicheskij atlas sovremennosti. Opyt mnogomernogo statisticheskogo analiza politicheskih sistem sovremennyh gosudarstv [Political Atlas of the Modern World: An Experiment in Multidimensional Statistical Analysis of the Political Systems of Modern States]. Moscow: MGIMO – University Press. 2007. 268 p. (In Russ.)
Melville A.Yu., Stukal D.K., Mironyuk M.G. Trajectories of Regime Transformations and Types of State Consistency. – Polis. Political Studies. 2012. No. 2. P. 8-30. (In Russ.) URL: http://www.politstudies.ru/article/4532 (accessed 12.01.2017).
Muggah R. Deconstructing the Fragile City: Exploring Insecurity, Violence and Resilience. – Environment and Urbanizaton. 2014. Vol. 26. No. 2. P. 345-358. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956247814533627
Nay O. Fragile and Failed States: Critical Perspectives on Conceptual Hybrids. – International Political Science Review. 2013. Vol. 34. No. 3. P. 326-341.
Patrick S. Weak States and Global Threats: Fact or Fiction? Washington Quarterly. 2006. Vol. 29. No. 2. P. 27-53.
Patrick S. Weak Links: Fragile States, Global Threats, and International Security. 2011. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 342 p.
Porteous T. Etats fragiles ou faillis: une notion à dépasser. – Etats et sociétés fragiles: entre conflit, reconstruction et développement. Ed. by Chataigner J-M., Magro H. Paris: Karthala. 2007. P. 493-508.
Pospisil J., Kühn F.P. The Resilient State: New Regulatory Modes in International Approaches to State- Building. – Third World Quarterly. 2016. Vol. 37. No. 1. P. 1-16. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0143659 7.2015.1086637
Preble C., Logan J. Failed State and Flawed Logic: the Case against a Standing Nation-Building Office. Policy Analysis 560 Washington DC: CATO Institute. URL: https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/ failed-states-flawed-logic-case-against-standing-nationbuilding-office (accessed 12.01.2017).
Putzel J. Why Development Actors Need a Better Definition of ‘State Fragility’. Policy Directions, London School of Economics and Political Science, Crisis States Research Centre. 2010. 4 p.
Rotberg R.I. The New Nature of Nation-State Failure. – Washington Quarterly. 2002. Vol. 25. No. 3. P. 85-96.
Rotberg R.I. Failed States, Collapsed States, Weak States: Causes and Indicators. – State Failure and State Weakness in a Time of Terror. Ed. by Rotberg R. Cambridge, Mass.: World Peace Foundation. 2003. P. 1-25.
Stewart F., Brown G. Fragile States. CRISE Working Paper 51. Oxford: University of Oxford. 2009. 112 p.
Taleb N.N. Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder. New York: Random House. 2012. 519 p.
Tokarev A.A. Conceptualization and Operationalization of ‘Stateness’ Concept. – Vestnik MGIMO-University. 2012. No. 4. P. 247-254. (In Russ.)
Walker B. et al. Resilience, Adaptability and Transformability in Social-Ecological Systems. – Ecology and Society. 2004. Vol. 9. No. 2.
de Weijer F. Resilience: a Trojan Horse for a New Way of Thinking? European Centre for Development Policy Management. Discussion Paper № 139. January 2013. 17 p. URL: http://ecdpm.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/DP-139-Resilience-Trojan-Horse-New-Way-of-Thinking-2013.pdf (accessed 12.01.2017).
Yudin N.V. “Security – Development Nexus”: Theoretical Understanding of the Problem. – Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta. Serija 25: Mezhdunarodnye otnoshenija i mirovaja politika. 2016. No. 1. P. 39-71. (In Russ.)
Zartman W. Collapsed States: The Disintegration and Restoration of Legitimate Authority. Boulder: L. Rienner Publishers. 1995. 303 p.
Akhremenko A.S., Gorelskiy I.E., Melville A.Yu.,
How and Why Should We Measure and Compare State Capacity of Different Countries? Theoretical and Methodological Foundations. – Polis. Political Studies. 2019. No2
“Out of the Ghetto”: On the Contribution of Post-Soviet/Russian Studies to Contemporary Political Science. – Polis. Political Studies. 2020. No1
Suffering Leviathan: What Will Save the Modern State (About the Book by N. Noonan and V. Nadkarni). – Polis. Political Studies. 2018. No3
National-state identity and the problems of the russian state’s consolidation. – Polis. Political Studies. 2011. No3
Social Policy under Globalization: Experience of Developed Countries. – Polis. Political Studies. 2008. No6