Limited Statehood Does Not Equal Civil War - New Essay published by Prof. Dr. Thomas Risse & Eric Stollenwerk in Daedalus Volume II

The second volume of Daedalus "Ending Civil Wars: Constraints and Possibilities" is online now and can be accessed here. Among the fourteen contributions to this edition is also Thomas Risse and Eric Stollenwerk ´s essay, which can be viewed here.

News from Jan 16, 2018


Limited statehood is frequently depicted as a major cause for civil war and violent conflict, and thus state-building efforts are often considered an effective conflict-prevention tool. Thomas Risse and Eric Stollenwerk argue, however, that this assumption is misguided: in the past and present, areas of limited statehood have been the global default rather than the exception; limited statehood does not equal civil war and violence; and a too-narrow focus on state-building may foster ineffective or predatory state institutions. They suggest that external actors should contribute to governance-building, rather than state-building, focusing on service provision and rule-making institutions with a broader scope than the state.

The Winter 2018 issue of Dædalus, “Ending Civil Wars: Constraints & Possibilities,” is the second publication of the American Academy project on Civil Wars, Violence, and International Responses. The previous volume, “Civil Wars & Global Disorder: Threats & Opportunities,” was published in October 2017. The project, directed by Karl Eikenberry (Stanford University; Lieutenant General, U.S. Army, retired; former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan; Member of the American Academy) and Stephen D. Krasner (Stanford University; Member of the American Academy), brings together experts across disciplines and from around the world to examine why states break down, what the impact of state disorder and failure is within and beyond national borders, whether there are universal qualities or regional characteristics of violent conflicts, and how and when external actors can effectively intervene in civil wars.

The fourteen essays in this issue offer information and insights rooted in conflicts and resolutions from seventeenth-century England to twenty-first-century jihadi insurgencies. The authors – from academia, diplomacy, policy institutes, the press, and the United Nations – offer a range of approaches to limiting the devastation of civil wars: from prevention, to containment with limited statehood, peacekeeping, and buffer zones, to ending civil wars by building “good enough governance.”

The Winter 2018 issue of Dædalus on “Ending Civil Wars: Constraints & Possibilities” is now available for order through MIT Press. The digital version of the issue is available in its entirety here or in individual essays below. For more information about past issues of Dædalus, please click here.

10 / 24