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Historicising representations of 'failed states': beyond the cold-war annexation of the social sciences?

Bilgin, Pinar; and Morton, Adam David (2002) Historicising representations of 'failed states': beyond the cold-war annexation of the social sciences? Third World Quarterly, 23 (1). pp. 55-80. ISSN 1360-2241

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Abstract

This article examines the rise of various representations of postcolonial states to highlight how thinking and practice that arose and prevailed during the Cold War still persists in the present ostensibly post-cold war era. After initially outlining the historical construction of the social sciences, it is shown how the annexation of the social sciences evolved in the early post-World War II and cold-war era as an adjunct of the world hegemonic pretensions of the USA. A critique is then developed of various representations of post-colonial states that arose in the making of the 'Third World' during the cold-war annexation of the social sciences. Yet such practices still persist in the present, as evidenced by more contemporary representations of post-colonial states commonly revolving around elements of deficiency or failure, eg 'quasi-states', 'weak states', 'failed states' or 'rogue states'. A more historicised consideration of post-colonial statehood, that recasts conceptions of state-civil society antagonisms in terms of an appreciation of political economy and critical security concerns, offers an alternative to these representations of 'failed states'. By historicising various representations of 'failed states' it becomes possible to open up critical ways of thinking about the political economy of security and to consider alternative futures in world order.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Third World Quarterly
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Politics & International Relations (Merged into PPR 2010-08-01)
ID Code: 13775
Deposited By: Mrs Yaling Zhang
Deposited On: 02 Oct 2008 10:20
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2013 16:12
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/13775

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