Ungoverned Spaces: Alternatives to State Authority in an Era of Softened Sovereignty

Ungoverned Spaces: Alternatives to State Authority in an Era of Softened Sovereignty

Ungoverned Spaces: Alternatives to State Authority in an Era of Softened Sovereignty

Ungoverned Spaces: Alternatives to State Authority in an Era of Softened Sovereignty

Synopsis

"Ungoverned spaces" are often cited as key threats to national and international security and are increasingly targeted by the international community for external interventions- both armed and otherwise. This book examines exactly when and how these spaces contribute to global insecurity, and it incorporates the many spaces where state authority is contested- from tribal, sectarian, or clan-based governance in such places as Pakistani Waziristan, to areas ruled by persistent insurgencies, such as Colombia, to nonphysical spaces, such as the internet and global finance.

Within this multiplicity of contexts, the book addresses a range of security concerns, including weapons of mass destruction, migrants, dirty money, cyberdata, terrorists, drug lords, warlords, insurgents, radical Islamist groups, and human privacy and security.

Ultimately, Ungoverned Spaces demonstrates that state-centric approaches to these concerns are unlikely to supplant the many sites of authority that provide governance in a world of softened sovereignty.

Excerpt

Anne L. Clunan

“Ungoverned spaces” are increasingly cited as a key threat to the U.S. government and its interests throughout the world. Often these spaces are seen as synonymous with failed states, or states that are unable to effectively exercise sovereignty. A primary goal of U.S. defense strategy now is to improve “effective sovereignty” in such areas in order to deny sanctuary to terrorists, proliferators of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), narco-traffickers, and gangsters. According to the World Bank, in 2006 the number of states lacking effective sovereignty rose to twenty-six, from eleven in 1996. The term is often extended to virtual realms, such as cyberspace and global finance, to connote the ease with which non-state actors can avoid state surveillance and undermine state sovereignty.

This volume is a response to the increased concern in policy circles over ungoverned spaces. It seeks to unpack the implicit and explicit assumptions and the state-centric bias that infuse the term as it is commonly understood both through analysis of the concept of ungoverned spaces and through empirical investigations of whether and how ungoverned spaces come into existence and generate security threats. This is done with an eye to pointing out the deficiencies in common usage of the term and in prescriptions of what should be done about ungoverned spaces. In place of a focus on ungoverned spaces, we suggest that understanding threats from non-state actors today is best accomplished through examining the origins and nature of alternative authority and governance structures in contested spaces. This examination . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.