Political Science Faculty Publications


Governments Against States: The Logic of Self-Destructive Despotism

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Since the end of the Cold War, and particularly since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the study of state failure and collapse has become a field in its own right. Nonetheless, attempts to predict the occurrence of state failure continue to rely on "off-the-shelf" data collected for other purposes and have not been very successful. There is a need to find data that is more specific to the issue of state failure, and a better body of theory is needed to identify causal patterns. Case studies offer a promising way forward, and analysis of the failure of the Somalian and Afghan states suggest a pattern in which the collapse of the state is precipitated by rulers attacking the state apparatus in order to prevent opposition by the bureaucracy and military. The cases of Somalia and Afghanistan are discussed in detail and their implications for studies of state failure are considered.

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International Political Science Review


SAGE Publications

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