Accepted paper:

Public Authority in Weak States

Authors:

Teddy Brett (LSE)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

This paper provides a comprehensive analytical framework for a pluralistic response to the unresolved crises of public authority in weak states involved in contested democratic transitions. It identifies the institutional challenges that all societies must meet to sustain political order and public authority, and the different processes they adopt in authoritarian and modern liberal social systems. It accepts the normative and technical claims of liberal and social democratic institutions, but also the need to reconcile and harmonise them with neo-traditional institutions in societies that are still building modern states. It shows that this can only be done by using hybrid solutions that take account of the diverse historical legacies in different types of state, and uses the insights of classical development theorists to provide a comprehensive social-centric methodology to do so. It concludes by identifying the major changes that this implies for the neo-liberal good governance agenda, refers to several recent studies that address the ambiguous role played by modern traditional institutions in weak states, and reviews case studies that demonstrate the contribution that progressive hybrid programmes can make to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of weak and conflict states, and the serious costs of failing to adopt them.

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