The idea of a fragile state: Emergence, conceptualization, and application in international political practice
Catholic University of Lublin, Poland
Data publikacji: 26-07-2023
Stosunki Międzynarodowe – International Relations 2021;57:93-110
This paper studies the concept of a ‘fragile state,’ its origins, uniqueness, and the circumstances determining the changing dynamics of the presented subject, as well as the possibility of its application in the practice of International Relations (IR). The analysis of the conceptualization process, as well as the instrumental treatment of the idea of state’s fragility structures by decision-makers responsible for shaping foreign policy - especially in the context of the global development and security strategy - underlines the complexity and incoherence of the fragile state’s concept, which is currently considered as one of the most ‘wicked problems’ of the modern world, often torn by numerous brutal military conflicts. The author of the piece uses the term ‘fragile state’ to describe not only the form and conditions of disintegration of the state’s political and social ties and the dismantling of its state-legal infrastructure, but also analyzes issues related to the economic collapse, poverty, hunger, humanitarian disasters, armed conflicts, as well as numerous cases of elementary civil liberties and human rights violations. The article argues that deepening the comprehending of the fragile state’s idea, along with emphasizing its conceptual vagueness and complexity, concerning the ‘politically correct’ discourse on the problems of ‘fragility’ and states’ weakness, is necessary for a better awareness of the ambiguous and the perplexing nature of state power operating within the most politically unstable and insecure regions of the so-called ‘Third World.’
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