Civil Wars and State Formation: Violence and the Politics of Legitimacy in Angola, Côte d'Ivoire and South Sudan

Péclard, Didier and Santschi, Martina and Schubert, Jon and Lazaro, Gilson and Moro, Leben and Zina, Ousmane. (2019) Civil Wars and State Formation: Violence and the Politics of Legitimacy in Angola, Côte d'Ivoire and South Sudan.

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Dominant narratives and theories developed at the turn of the 21st century to account for civil wars in Africa converged around two main ideas. First that the increase in civil wars across Africa was the expression of the weakness and collapse of state institutions. Second, guerrilla movements, once viewed as the ideological armed wings of Cold War contenders, were seen as roving bandits interested in plundering the spoils left by decaying states and primarily driven by economic or personal interests. However, recent research has challenged such accounts by looking into the day-to-day politics of civil war beyond armed groups' motives to wage war against the established order. Indeed, civil wars, while being the cause of immense suffering, contribute to shaping and producing political orders. Thus, if we are to understand how stable political institutions can be built after civil war, it is essential to study the institutions that regulate political life during conflict. This implies a need to take into account governance institutions and relations in areas beyond the control of the state. This working paper1 thus focuses on political orders put in place by armed groups, their strategies to legitimise their existence and claim to power, and on the extent to which they manage to institutionalise their military power and transform it into political domination. To this end, we take a broad perspective by looking at (dis)continuities between political orders established under rebel rule and post-war state formation. Drawing on a Weberian conception of the making of political orders as the passage from raw power (Macht) to domination (Herrschaft), we interrogate the social fabric of legitimacy in areas under rebel control during conflict and analyse how it relates to state formation in the post-conflict phase. Based on a political anthropology of governance and state practices in three different countries (Angola, Côte d'Ivoire and South Sudan) this paper provides empirical and theoretical insights into state formation in Africa as well as into domination and legitimacy. It also links to current policy debates on statebuilding and peacebuilding in fragile contexts. The paper starts with a review of the literature on civil wars and statebuilding. It then presents the analytical framework that was developed for the three case studies, which constitute the bulk of the paper.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > swisspeace foundation
UniBasel Contributors:Santschi, Martina
Item Type:Other
Publisher:University of Geneva, SNIS, swisspeace
Number of Pages:29
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Other publications
edoc DOI:
Last Modified:04 Mar 2020 15:49
Deposited On:04 Mar 2020 15:49

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