Fall 2017

Fictional States & Atomized Public Spheres: A Non-Western Approach to Fragility

William Reno
State failure is rooted in decades of personalist rule, as leaders have sought to fragment and disorganize institutions and social groups that they thought would be possible bases of opposition. Once considered particular to sub-Saharan Africa, now parts of the Middle East and Central Asia exhibit this connection. William Reno explores the dilemma that confronts policy-makers: it is possible to prop up personalist regimes that present themselves as bulwarks against disorder and terror, but doing so supports the domestic strategies of governance that play a central role in creating the conditions of protracted multisided warfare in the event that the regimes fail.
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