Drawing upon the vast contemporary literature on state-building that has emerged since Helman and Ratner’s pioneer article in 1992-1993, this paper identifies two different schools of thought in the discussion, each of which reflects different sociological understandings of the state. The first one, an “institutional approach” closely related to the Weberian conception of the state, focuses on the importance of institutional reconstruction and postulates that state-building activities do not necessarily require a concomitant nation-building effort. The second, a “legitimacy approach” influenced by Durkheimian sociology, recognizes the need to consolidate central state institutions, but puts more emphasis on the importance of socio-political cohesion in the process. The institutional approach focuses on the institutional and physical basis of the state, while the legitimacy approach is more preoccupied with the social contract binding the citizens together. This contemporary debate has practical implications for practitioners in the field of state-building. Indeed, one’s conception of what to rebuild – the state – will necessarily impact the actual process of state-building. This paper tries to bring some clarity to a very confused debate, detailing the rise of the institutional approach and its limits when faced with unforeseen legitimacy issues.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Apr 2010|
|Event||Political Studies Association Annual Conference, 60th - Edinburgh, United Kingdom|
Duration: 29 Mar 2010 → 1 Apr 2010
|Conference||Political Studies Association Annual Conference, 60th|
|Abbreviated title||PSA annual conference|
|Period||29/03/10 → 1/04/10|
|Other||Sixty Years of Political Studies: Achievements and Futures|