The myth of ‘ungoverned space’. Some implications for exogenous state-building and human security
Mats Berdal

Heightened anxiety in the West about ‘ungoverned territories’ was a direct consequence of the events of 9/11. The analysis and dominant policy prescriptions proposed for dealing with them, however, can be traced back to the ‘state failure’ debates of the 1990s, when many Western analysts and policymakers came to view the ‘building’ of modern liberal states along Weberian lines as the solution to the scourge of civil war in the post-Cold War era. In fact, while the underlying motives for engaging with ‘failed states’ in the 1990s and ‘ungoverned space’ after 2001 may have differed, the diagnosis of the core challenge that needed to be addressed rested on fundamentally similar assumptions.

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