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The Fallacy of the 'Failed State'

Abstract(back to top)

This article examines the origins and evolution of the concepts of 'failed' and 'failing' states, arguing that the terms have come to be used in such widely divergent and problematic ways that they have lost any utility. The article details six serious problems with the term 'state failure' and related terms like 'fragile' or 'troubled' states, concluding that analysts should abandon these terms. It concludes with a modest attempt to develop alternative concepts and principles for thinking about diverse states that pose varied challenges for academic analysis and policy makers.

Bibliographic Information(back to top)

  • The Fallacy of the 'Failed State'
  • Charles T. Call
  • Third World Quarterly
  • Vol. 29, No. 8 (2008) (pp. 1491-1507)
  • Page Count: 17

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