The Dilemmas of Statebuilding: Confronting the contradictions of postwar peace operations, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Dilemmas of Statebuilding

Confronting the contradictions of postwar peace operations, 1st Edition

Edited by Roland Paris, Timothy D. Sisk


370 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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This book explores the contradictions that emerge in international statebuilding efforts in war-torn societies.

Since the end of the Cold War, more than 20 major peace operations have been deployed to countries emerging from internal conflicts. This book argues that international efforts to construct effective, legitimate governmental structures in these countries are necessary but fraught with contradictions and vexing dilemmas.. Drawing on the latest scholarly research on postwar peace operations, the volume:

  • addresses cutting-edge issues of statebuilding including coordination, local ownership, security, elections, constitution making, and delivery of development aid
  • features contributions by leading and up-and-coming scholars
  • provides empirical case studies including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Croatia, Kosovo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and others
  • presents policy-relevant findings of use to students and policymakers alike

The Dilemmas of Statebuilding will be vital reading for students and scholars of international relations and political science. Bringing new insights to security studies, international development, and peace and conflict research, it will also interest a range of policy makers.


'Roland Paris and Timothy Sisk have compiled the essential guide to understanding the inherent contradictions that lie at the heart of the statebuilding enterprise. Drawing on a range of contemporary cases the volume's contributors expertly dissect the dilemmas raised by the challenges of coordination, security, political economy, institutional design, and autonomy. Students, analysts or practitioners looking to reflect on the process of statebuilding will find no better place to start their enquiry.' - Paul D. Williams, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, USA

'Statebuilding is a primary challenge for the international relations, defence and development communities in our time. Peacebuilding turns out to be meaningless without state capacity, so often shattered utterly during civil (generally also regional) wars. This valuable volume draws on nearly twenty years of experience with peacebuilding during the post-Cold War era, through contributions of eminent scholars expert in this area and some exciting newer entrants into the field, in order to emphasize convincingly the central role of the state in supporting recovery from national collapse.' - David M. Malone, President, International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada

'This is an extremely timely study that is bound to stimulate considerable interest among academics and practitioners alike.' - Dr. Necla Tschirgi ,University of Ottawa, Canada

Table of Contents

Introduction: Understanding the Contradictions of Postwar Statebuilding Roland Paris and Timothy Sisk Part 1: Domestic and International Context 1. The Peacebuilder's Contract: How External Statebuilding Reinforces Weak Statehood Michael Barnett and Christoph Zuercher 2. Understanding the "Coordination Problem" in Postwar Statebuilding Roland Paris Part 2: Security 3. Foreign Militaries, Sustainable Institutions, and Postwar Statebuilding David Edelstein 4. Making Peacemakers out of Spoilers: International Organizations, Private Military Training, and Statebuilding After War Deborah Avant Part 3: Political Economy 5. Trajectories of Accumulation through War and Peace Cristopher Cramer 6. The Superficiality of Statebuilding in Cambodia: Patronage and Clientelism as Enduring Forms of Politics David RobertsPart 4: Institutional Design 7. Constitutional Choices and Statebuilding in Postconflict Countries Kirsti Samuels 8. Pathways of the Political: Electoral Processes after Civil War Timothy Sisk Part 5: Autonomy and Dependence 9. The Dangers of a Tight Embrace: Externally Assisted Statebuilding in Afghanistan Astri Suhrke 10. Dilemmas of Promoting Local Ownership: The Case of Postwar Kosovo Jens Narten Part 6: Reflections and Conclusions 11. A New Generation of Statebuilding Scholarship: Reflections on This Volume Miles Kahler 12. Confronting the Contradictions Timothy D. Sisk and Roland Paris

About the Editors

Roland Paris is Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. His is author of At War’s End: Building Peace After Civil Conflict which won the Grawewmeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order and the International Studies Association’s Chadwick Alger Award for best book on international organization.

Timothy D. Sisk is Associate Dean and Associate Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver and Director of the Center for Sustainable Development and International Peace, a research and policy development institute. He also serves as an Associate Fellow of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy in Geneva, Switzerland.

About the Series

Security and Governance

International Editorial Board

Mohammed Ayoob, Michigan State University, Richard Caplan, University of Oxford
Neta Crawford, Boston University, Stuart Croft, University of Warwick, Donatella della Porta, European University Institute, Michael Doyle, Columbia University, Lynn Eden, Stanford University, Takashi Inoguchi, Chuo University and University of Tokyo, Elizabeth Kier, University of Washington, Keith Krause, Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, Bruce Russett, Yale University, Timothy Sisk, University of Denver, Janice Gross Stein, University of Toronto, Stephen Stedman, Stanford University and Mark Zacher, University of British Columbia

This series publishes high quality original research that reflects broadening conceptions of security and the growing nexus between the study of governance issues and security issues. Scholarship published in the series will meet the highest academic standards, and will be both theoretically innovative and policy-relevant. Work appearing in the series will be at the cutting edge of debates taking place at the intersection of security studies and governance studies.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General