Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
I. William Zartman
State failure is composed of two elements: the failure and the state. This entry first examines the diverse notions of failure, including their definition, their components and processes, some examples, and rehabilitation. It then addresses divergent conceptions of the state, with particular attention to ideas about the non-Western state that impinge on an understanding of failure and associated processes. State failure is the basis of a large array of concepts, starting with a rare and narrow concern, already containing certain ambiguities of definition, measurement, and remedy, and expanding into nearly the entire field of comparative politics, democracy, development, and interstate policy. Failure refers to several overlapping concepts, unfortunately often confused with each other: collapse, failed, failing, fragile, and weak. The most narrowly defined category is that of collapsed states. Collapse, the most extreme form of damage, occurs when states can no longer perform their basic functions, defined as enforcing internal ...