The Resilient State: New Regulatory Modes in International Approaches to Statebuilding?

Pospisil, Jan and Kuehn, Florian P, The Resilient State: New Regulatory Modes in International Approaches to Statebuilding? (February 4, 2016). Third World Quarterly, January 2016, DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2015.1086637; Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No 2016/03. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2727994

Resilience has quickly risen to prominence in international security and development circles. In recent years, it has found its way into political discourse on state-building and state fragility, triggering a vast but often conceptually indistinct examination of the subject. Given its meaning in policy publications and guidelines, resilience tends to eschew a static conceptualization of statehood, turning instead to a more dynamic, complex and process-oriented rendering of state-society relations. This illustrates a conceptual shift from failed states to fragile states and situations. It also transforms the failed state as a mere threat perception with stability as its logical other into fragility as a particular form of social and political risk. This paper analyses the concepts in 43 policy papers focusing on the nexus of resilience and fragility in international statebuilding and assesses potential consequences. What does resilience as the opposite vision to fragility in fact mean? What is the practice derived from this chimerical state of states?

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