Many states in the Third World remain fragile and prone to collapse because they face challenges from cohesive groups within their borders. Such groups form ""states-within-states"" having many of the functional characteristics of states-including administrative structures, defined territories, and armed militias-but their status remains contested and unclear. From Colombia to Lebanon, from Iraqi Kurdistan to the Sudan, the contests between central control and regional autonomy often turn violent and pose severe humanitarian challenges problematic to the international community given the norms of sovereignty and non-intervention in domestic affairs. Yet, these conditions have not always given way to anarchy. In some cases, the breakdown of weak and often arbitrary states has given way to more coherent and viable, though not necessarily benevolent, political entities. This book examines the extent to which these sub-units-""states within states""-represent alternatives that the international community could look to in a long-term effort to bring stability, security, and development to peoples in the Third World. This book will be of interest to practitioners and scholars alike in the fields of international relations, conflict resolution and peace-building, and development studies.
About the Author
PAUL KINGSTON is Associate Professor of Political Science and International Development Studies, University of Toronto, Canada. IAN S. SPEARS is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.
"One of the most important developments in recent years has been the loss of control over territory by many states. However, the decline of central states does not simply result in anarchy as there are often groups who are willing to provide some kind of order on a more local basis. As a result, "states within states" have appeared as sub-national movements gain whole or partial control of part of a nation. This new book edited by Paul Kingston and Ian Spears is one of the first efforts to examine this phenomenon across the world. It is especially notable for its explicit theorization of the problem, the wealth of empirical information that the contributors have provided on what are often extremely difficult cases to understand, and the importance of the policy questions that are examined. States Within States will be an important contribution for those seeking to understand the evolution of sovereignty in war-torn areas of the world."--Jeffrey Herbst, Princeton University
"This book is a big step beyond our conventional understanding of 'failed states.' It advances our understanding by recognizing that the disintegration of existing sovereign states can be accompanied by the simultaneous emergence of not yet recognized but demonstrably capable states within certain parts of the same territorial jurisdiction. We are provoked to ask: Do not those more capable and domestically legitimate entities have a more valid claim to international recognition? Where that happens, isn't it a justifiable and workable solution to the problem of failed states? This is an insightful and thought-provoking book."--Robert Jackson, Boston University