1st Edition

State Formation After Civil War Local Government in National Peace Transitions

By Derek M Powell Copyright 2017
    280 Pages
    by Routledge

    280 Pages
    by Routledge

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    State formation after civil war offers a new model for studying the formation of the state in a national peace transition as an integrated national phenomenon. Current models of peacebuilding and state building limit that possibility, reproducing a fragmented, selective view of this complex reality. Placing too much emphasis on state building as design they place too little on understanding state formation as unplanned historical process. The dominant focus on national institutions also ignores the role that cities and civic polities have played in constituting the modern state. Mining ideas from many disciplines and evidence from 19 peace processes, including South Africa, the book argues that the starting point for building a systematic theory is to explain a distinct pattern to state formation that can be observed in practice: Despite their conflicts people in fragile societies bargain terms for peaceful coexistence, they make attempts to constitute the right to rule as valid state authority, in circumstances prone to conflict, over which they have imperfect influence, not control. Though the kind of institutions created will differ with context, how rules for state authority are institutionalized follows a consistent basic pattern. That pattern defines state formation in peace transitions as both a unified, if contingent, field of normative practice and an object of comparative study.

    Where the national-centric models see local government as a matter belonging to policy on decentralization for later in the reconstruction phase, the book uncovers a distinct "local government dimension" to peace transitions: A civic dimension to national conflicts that must be explained; incipient or proto-local authorities that emerge even during civil war, in peace making, after state collapse; the fact that it is common for peace agreements and constitutions to include rules for local authority, for local elections to be held as part of broader democratization, and for laws to be enacted to establish local government as part of peace compacts. The book develops the concept of local peace transition to explain the distinctive constitutive role of this local dimension in peace-making and state formation.

    This path-breaking book will be of compelling interest to practitioners, scholars and students of comparative constitutional studies, international law, peace building and state building.

    Chapter 1 Introduction

    Chapter 2 Peacebuilding

    The Rise of the Post-Cold War Peace and Security Architecture

    Integrated Transition

    The ‘Peace Map’ of a Typical UN Peace Building Operation

    Fragmentation Not Integration

    Chapter 3 State Building

    The Evolution of Post-Conflict State Building

    Building Denmark

    Building Leviathan

    The Core State Functions Model

    The Grand Bargain model

    State Building Limits Our View of State Formation

    Chapter 4 State Formation in National Peace Transitions

    State Formation as Historical Process Imperfectly Shaped by Human Design

    The State as an Incipient System of Rules for State Authority

    National Peace Transition as a Normative Field of State Formation

    Chapter 5 Cities and State Formation

    Federalism and Local Government

    Decentralization and Local Government

    The Constitutive Role of Local Government in State Formation

    Incipient Local Authority

    The Formation of Rules for Local Authority in National Peace Transitions

    Local Peace Transition

    Chapter 6 The South African Peace Transition

    State Racism and the Long Arc of Conflict in South Africa (1910-1993)

    The Fragile Apartheid State

    The Peace Transition: Political Negotiations and Constitution-Making (1990-1996)

    Chapter 7 Civic Conflict

    Local Government and the Enforcement of Apartheid

    Civic Struggle as People’s War

    The Civic Dimension of the Conflict

    Civic Conflict Defined the Pathways for the Local Peace Transition

    Chapter 8 The Local Peace Transition in South Africa

    Local Peace Agreements

    The ‘Local Government’ Constitution

    Elected Transitional Local Council

    Local Peace Transition

    Chapter 9 Cities and State Formation in National Peace Transitions




    Derek Powell is an Associate Professor in Law and Head of the Multi-Level Government Initiative in the Dullah Omar Institute of Constitutional Law, Governance and Human Rights at the University of the Western Cape. He served as a deputy director-general, senior civil servant and policy advisor in the South African government under the Mandela and Mbeki administrations (1996-2009), where he worked on key policy processes to establish and reform the systems of democratic local government and intergovernmental relations. He was head of the research department at the Constitutional Assembly during the process to draft a democratic constitution for South Africa (1994-96). His research interests focus on comparative constitutional studies, international peace and security law and politics, local government, intergovernmental relations, public finance management, and more recently on using large datasets in researching complex problems of governance that cut across the law, state, economy, and society. He is co-editor of Jaap de Visser, Nico Steytler, Derek Powell, Ebenezer Durojaye eds., Constitution Building in Africa (Nomos, 2015).