Must the State Be a Vertical Network? Considering Kosovo

December 2012
Südost-Europa;2012, Vol. 60 Issue 4, p514
Academic Journal
Max Weber famously conceived of the state as a hierarchical structure, with centralized control over the use of force within a territory. However, when efforts to construct state institutions from the outside have been made, such hierarchical structures have shown problematic results. Rarely do such state constructions reflect the blueprints of well-meaning internationals. The assumption that centralized hierarchies are required for professionalism and effectiveness in governance is one that this paper intends to address. In this paper, I outline some of these common pathologies of hierarchies to demonstrate how they might produce particular responses of resistance from within a population, particularly from within a population divided along identity lines. These patterns can be used to facilitate better approaches by internationals to state-building contexts, particularly in post-conflict settings like the Balkans. Kosovo will be briefly used as an illustrative example of some of these themes. By embracing the promise of more decentralized and horizontal hybrid approaches to governance, and by incorporating some of the already-existing informal practices on the ground, internationals can take a more effective approach to state-building projects.


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