State Failure Reassessed: a Contextual Framework Applied to Pakistan

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The rising tide of ethnic, political and sectarian conflicts at both national and regional levels, the growing role of non-state actors in these conflicts and the spread of international terrorism have brought state failure back to the centre of world politics. While the widely employed functionalist–institutionalist approach to the failure of nation-states focuses on the state, this article introduces a contextual framework, which highlights the role of the nation.This framework is then utilised to examine Pakistan, which on the one hand has been categorised as failing in many indexes and studies and on the other has raised debate about the contradictory forces that shape its strengths and weaknesses. The paper concludes that the social contract between the state and society goes beyond the obligation of the former to fulfil the basic needs of its citizens. State–society relations and sociopolitical interactions among subnational identities within fractionalised societies should be directed at political arrangements that could abate conflict and promote a shared sense of nationhood
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)80-107
JournalWorld Affairs: The Journal of International Issues
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


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