en
Dictionary / Encyclopedia contribution
French

State formation and conflict in Africa

ContributorsPeclard, Didier
PublisherOxford, UK : Oxford University Press
Publication date2019
Abstract

Dominant narratives and theories developed at the turn of the 21st century to account for the links between state formation and civil wars in Africa converged around two main ideas. First was the contention that the increase in civil wars across the continent—like that in many parts of the globe, including South Asia and Central Europe—was linked to state failure or decay. Violent conflict thus came to be seen as the expression of the weakness, disintegration, and collapse of political institutions in the postcolonial world. Second, guerrilla movements, once viewed as the ideological armed wings of Cold War contenders, then came to be seen as roving bandits interested in plundering the spoils left by decaying states, and their motives as primarily, if not only, economic or personal, rather than political. However, recent research has challenged the reductionism that underlay such accounts by looking into the day-to-day politics of civil war, thus moving beyond the search for the motives that bring rebels and rebel movements to wage war against the established order. Drawing on this literature, this article argues that violent conflict is part and parcel of historical processes of state formation. Thus, in order to understand how stable political institutions can be built in the aftermath of civil war, it is essential to study the institutions that regulate political life during conflict. This implies a need not only to look at how (and if) state institutions survive once war has broken out, but also to take into account the institutions put in place in areas beyond the control of the state.

Keywords
  • Africa
  • State formation
  • Violent conflict
  • Civil wars
  • Rebel governance
  • Legitimacy
  • African politics
Citation (ISO format)
PECLARD, Didier. State formation and conflict in Africa. In: Oxford research encyclopedia of politics. Oxford, UK : Oxford University Press, 2019. doi: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.833
Main files (1)
Encyclopedia entry (Published version)
accessLevelRestricted
Identifiers
525views
5downloads

Technical informations

Creation09/03/2019 11:21:00 AM
First validation09/03/2019 11:21:00 AM
Update time03/15/2023 5:59:48 PM
Status update03/15/2023 5:59:47 PM
Last indexation01/17/2024 6:12:45 AM
All rights reserved by Archive ouverte UNIGE and the University of GenevaunigeBlack