chapter  2
17 Pages

On state transformation

ByIrene Costantini

Chapter 2 , On state transformation discusses the main concept explored in the book: what is a state? It shows that the recent revival of the state in International Relations literature has advanced a specific notion of the state influenced by political and normative concerns aimed at explaining state collapse and fragility while providing a solution in the shape of statebuilding. The chapter problematises this notion by disentangling the state in terms of its functions (what the state does) and means (how the state operates), focusing on three fundamental aspects of the state: representation and political authority, the provision of security and the monopoly of violence and wealth creation and distribution. The second part of the chapter examines how changes in the design, functions and role of the state are explained in statebuilding and state formation. This discussion introduces the argument that the contradictions between statebuilding and state formation processes contribute decisively to disorder and violence and accounts for continuing instability in Iraq and Libya.