Title

Revisiting the Concept of the Failed State: Bringing the State Back In

Publication Date

2013

Document Type

Article

Abstract

The policy and donor communities have placed great importance on fixing ‘failed states’. World leaders have cited failed states as one of the greatest threats to the global community. Nevertheless the concept of the failed state is currently subject to a backlash from the academic community. Scholars have criticised the failed states literature on theoretical, normative, empirical and practical grounds. We provide a brief overview of these main concerns and offer a more systematic method for measuring ‘state failure’. Coming up with better ways of assessing how states underperform will enhance our understanding of how institutional decay affects stability and development and, most importantly, will provide an improved system of early warning for practitioners.

Original Citation

Ezrow, N. & Frantz, E. (2013). Revisiting the Concept of the Failed State: Bringing the State Back In. Third World Quarterly, 34(8), 1323-1338. doi: 10.1080/01436597.2013.831596