Governance Without a State? Policies and Politics in Areas of Limited Statehood

In This Review

Governance Without a State?: Policies and Politics in Areas of Limited Statehood
by Edited by Thomas Risse
Columbia University Press, 2011
312 pp. $50.00

Sovereign nation-states that can uphold the rule of law, enforce order at home, and abide by international rules and institutions are frequently touted as the building blocks of effective global governance. If fragile and failed states are the problem, nation-state building is the solution. But this important study led by Risse, a German political scientist, demonstrates that many parts of the world will not soon or easily be transformed into capable modern states. Starting with the assumption that “limited sovereignty” is here to stay, at least in many developing and postcolonial societies, the authors explore ways in which the international community can help such places develop effective and legitimate governance. Several authors explore the various ways in which “multilevel governance” has been organized, ranging from colonial administration to modern protectorates, such as Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo. For readers who think the world is steadily moving toward the Westphalian ideal of a universal system of sovereign states, this book will be a revelation. For readers who despair at the chronic problem 
of weak and failing states, this book contains intriguing ideas about alternative forms of stable governance.