The Sovereignty Paradox: The Norms and Politics of International Statebuilding

Synopsis

The post-cold war years have witnessed an unprecedented involvement by the United Nations in the domestic affairs of states, to end conflicts and rebuild political and administrative institutions. International administrations established by the UN or Western states have exercised extensive executive, legislative, and judicial authority over post-conflict territories to facilitate institution building and provide for interim governance.

This book is a study of the normative framework underlying the international community's statebuilding efforts. Through detailed case studies of policymaking by the international administrations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and East Timor, based on extensive interviews and work in the administrations, the book examines the nature of this normative framework, and highlights how norms shape the institutional choices of statebuilders, the relationship between international and local actors, and the exit strategies of international administrations. The book argues that a particular conception of sovereignty as responsibility has influenced the efforts of international administrations, and shows that their statebuilding activities are informed by the idea that post-conflict territories need to meet certain normative tests before they are considered legitimate internationally. The restructuring of political and administrative practices to help post-conflict territories to meet these tests creates a sovereignty paradox: international administrations compromise one element of sovereignty--the right to self-government--in order to implement domestic reforms to legitimize the authority of local political institutions, and thus strengthen their sovereignty.

In the light of the governance and development record of the three international administrations, the book assesses the promises and the pathologies of statebuilding, and develops recommendations to improve their performance.

Additional information

Contributors:
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 2007

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.