Making States Work: State Failure and the Crisis of Governance

Making States Work: State Failure and the Crisis of Governance


Edited by Simon Chesterman, Edited by Michael Ignatieff, Edited by Ramesh Thakur

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  • Publisher: United Nations University
  • Format: Paperback | 424 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 234mm x 22mm | 581g
  • Publication date: 30 May 2005
  • Publication City/Country: Tokyo
  • ISBN 10: 928081107X
  • ISBN 13: 9789280811070
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Illustrations note: maps
  • Sales rank: 798,638

Product description

In the wealth of literature on state failure, little attention has been paid to the questions of what constitutes state success and what enables a state to succeed. This book examines the strategies and tactics of international actors, local political elites, and civil society groups to build or rebuild public institutions before they reach the point of failure --to make the state work. It is frequently assumed that the collapse of state structures leads to a vacuum of political power. This is rarely the case. Basic questions of how best to ensure physical and economic security don't disappear when the institutions of the state break down. Non-state actors in such situations may exercise political power over local populations to provide basic social services from education to medical care. Even where non-state actors exist as parasites, political life goes on. How to engage in such an environment is a problem for policymakers in intergovernmental organizations and donor governments. But it poses far greater difficulties for the embattled state institutions and the populations of such territories. Making States Work examines how these various actors have responded to crises in the legitimacy and viability of state institutions, emphasizing situations in which the state has been salvaged or at least kept afloat.

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Author information

Simon Chesterman is global professor and director of the New York University School of Law Singapore Program, Singapore. Michael Ignatieff is Carr Professor of Human Rights Practice and the director of human rights policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Ramesh Thakur is a distinguished fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and professor of political science at the University of Waterloo, Canada. He previously served as senior vice-rector of the United Nations University and assistant secretary general of the United Nations.