Abstract mohammad zahidul islam khan and dominik zaum

Journal Issue:  Vol 1 No. 1 2020: 19-71 

Article Name: A Structural Explanation of State Fragility: Theorizing the Causal Pathways

Author:  Mohammad Zahidul Islam Khan And Dominik Zaum


Any global structure comprises of ideational and material elements. To put the idea into practice, members of the global community formulate rules and regulations and marshal resources to build capacities and institutions that can affect states and societies. Although the effects of the global structures on the state fragility are increasingly being recognized, the pathways through which they can affect the states contributing to its fragility or strengthening its resilience have been rarely examined. This paper aims at filling the void in the literature by offering a structural explanation of state fragility. The post 9/11 structure of the Global War on Terrorism (GWoT) has been taken as a proxy to theorize the pathways. It argues that the ideational and material factors of the GWoT operate through: (i) the cognitive pathway shaping the states’ thinking, interpreting and reasoning process (ii) the regulatory pathway creating demand for policy coordination, cooperation and compatible legal and procedural instruments for counter terrorism (CT) and their compliance (iii) the capability pathway shaping the states’ coercive capability, institutions and CT alliance building. The theorized pathways are illustrated through schematic diagrams showing how they can impact the states’ legitimacy and capacity dimensions contributing to the increase or decrease of the state fragility to facilitate their tracing in individual case studies. Finally, the paper makes comparative analysis of the cognitive, regulatory and capability pathways highlighting their relationship and relative significance.


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