State-society relations and citizenship

2° ATO Belo Horizonte

State-society relations, citizenship and socio-political cohesion are areas of great importance to statebuilding and peacebuilding and are crucial to an integrated approach. State-society relations are defined by DFID as ‘interactions between state institutions and societal groups to negotiate how public authority is exercised and how it can be influenced by people. They are ...» more

An evaluation of Hogaan iyo Nabad: A community driven governance programme in Somalia/Somaliland

Jutta Bakonyi, Gidon Cohen, and Pierre-Olivier Bedard

The report presents the results of an evaluation of Hogaan iyo Nabad, a Community Driven Reconstruction (CDR) programme in Somaliland and Somalia.The programme was funded by DFID and implemented by CARE, DRC and IRC, and aimed at strengthening local governance in rural and rather remote districts in Somaliland (Erigabo) and Puntland (Galkayo and Burtinle). To work towards ...» more

Making development work: The quality of government approach

Bo Rothstein & Marcus Tannenberg

This report synthesizes the current knowledge on why some countries have developed into prosperous societies while others have not, and puts forward conclusions for development policy. The report summarises qualitative as well as quantitative studies that have shown that quality of governance (QoG) factors, such as control of corruption, the rule of law, and administrative ...» more

The legitimacy of states and armed non-state actors

Somalia (UN Photo/Stuart Price)

Legitimacy is a crucial aspect of all power relations. Without legitimacy, power is exerted through coercion; with legitimacy, power can be exerted through voluntary or quasi-voluntary compliance. Legitimacy lies at the core of state-citizen relationships and thus of the whole state-building agenda. This Topic Guide explores the meaning of legitimacy in relation to state and ...» more

Education and building legitimacy during conflict

This rapid review summarises the available evidence of how far support to education has strengthened governance during conflict. The main points made by the literature on education delivery during conflict and strengthened legitimacy for those delivering it includes: Service delivery and state legitimacy: expectations for services vary and this has an impact on the ...» more

Legitimacy, statebuilding and conflict

(This 10-minute presentation accompanying the reading pack was recorded at the GSDRC Seminar on Conflict and Development, London, 23 March 2015.) Building legitimacy is widely considered to be a central aspect of statebuilding efforts in fragile and conflict-affected states. It features prominently in the statebuilding policies of donors and the G7+ alike. In the literature,…» more

When Does Service Delivery Improve the Legitimacy of a Fragile or Conflict-Affected State?

Claire Mcloughlin

Understanding the key sources of legitimacy available to a state, and whether and how external aid interventions might seek to influence them, is a rapidly growing area of concern for development agencies. Received wisdom holds that providing vital public services – like health, education, water and sanitation – is likely to enhance state legitimacy, especially in fragile or ...» more

Beyond capacity – addressing authority and legitimacy in fragile states

Graham Teskey, Sabina Schnell, Alice Poole

This article argues that state-building represents a lengthy process whereby the state’s authority, capacity and legitimacy are forged and strengthened to enable the state to deliver across key domains. Despite the emerging policy consensus that building institutions and strengthening state legitimacy are important, donors have in practice neglected both authority and ...» more

The State’s Legitimacy in Fragile Situations: Unpacking Complexity


State legitimacy provides the basis for rule by consent rather than coercion, but in fragile situations multiple, conflicting sources of legitimacy co-exist. How can the complex interactions between these different sources be better understood and constructively combined? Donors should pay particular attention to: (a) legitimacy deriving from shared beliefs and traditions; and ...» more

Statebuilding without Nation-building? Legitimacy, State Failure and the Limits of the Institutionalist Approach

What is state collapse and how should external actors address it? This essay reviews the literature, outlining the 'institutional' and 'legitimacy' approaches to the state and statebuilding that emerge. It argues that to be effective, statebuilding needs to consider both the efficiency of state institutions and their legitimacy, (and in terms of the latter, the impact of ...» more

The Legitimacy of the State in Fragile Situations

S. Bellina, D. Darbon, S. S. Eriksen, O. J. Sending

What is the nature of state legitimacy in fragile situations? How can legitimacy be fostered in such situations? This report was commissioned by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation and the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. It suggests that legitimacy concerns the very basis for how state and society are linked and by which the state’s authority is ...» more

Post-conflict Statebuilding and State Legitimacy: From Negative to Positive Peace?

David Roberts

What is the potential for statebuilding interventions to foster domestic legitimacy? This article advocates a shift in current approaches to statebuilding. Rather than inserting modern institutions that create external legitimacy, statebuilding should focus on closing the gap between civil society and the state. More emphasis should be placed on building domestic legitimacy by ...» more

Participation and State Legitimation

Katia Papagianni

How do postwar countries gain legitimacy in the eyes of political elites and the public? This chapter from Building States to Build Peace argues that statebuilding should be approached as a process (not an event) to legitimate new state institutions. A statebuilding process is most likely to generate legitimacy for the state when it is inclusive of all major political forces, ...» more

Building Legitimate States After Civil Wars: Order, Authority and Institutions

David Lake

How can statebuilding be improved? This paper from the University of California argues that successful statebuilding may be possible if the international community adopts a new framework. It presents a relational concept, using Somalia and Somaliland as case studies, and identifies alternative ways of rebuilding state legitimacy.Current statebuilding practice combines political ...» more