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The European Union and Beyond

Pathways of Post-Conflict State Formation

Political Parties
Comparative Perspective
State Power
Johannes Jüde
European University Institute
Johannes Jüde
European University Institute

Scholarly work has developed various lines of thinking to explain the emergence of the state, yet two general approaches can be distinguished: Bellicose theories point to competition in war and the organizational requirements of wielding coercion as the key drivers of state formation. Cooperative theories, by contrast, emphasize a coalitional approach towards state-making in which powerful social groups pool their capabilities to erect an order in line with their interests. Though some studies frame the two approaches as competing explanations, I argue that both accounts provide an insightful and valid model for present-day state-making.
When rebels have emerged victorious in warfare and state formation follows the conflict, two further possibilities emerge. Post-conflict state formation is either led by the former rebels which have transformed into political parties, or it is dominated by other actors. Thus, the following pathways of post-conflict state formation emerge: coalitional state formation led by the former rebels like in Zimbabwe where ZANU (Zimbabwe African National Union) shaped state-building; coalitional state formation without the former rebels like in Somaliland where the SNM (Somali National Movement) fragmented after the war; and bellicose state formation by the former rebels such as in Eritrea where the EPLF/PFDJ (Eritrean People’s Liberation Front/People's Front for Democracy and Justice) has built the state. The fourth possibility, bellicose state formation without the former rebels can be theoretically excluded as the bellicose paradigm assumes the transformation of the wielder of coercion itself into the state-like organization.
In this paper, I analyze several cases of post-conflict state-making exploiting the above-outlined distinction and demonstrate that the pathway of post-conflict state-building is highly consequential for the state formation outcome. Moreover, I argue that the dynamics of the preceding conflicts and particularly the economic mode of reproduction of the rebel movements determine which pathway of post-conflict state formation emerges.
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