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Why Africa's Weak States Persist: The Empirical and the Juridical in Statehood

Robert H. Jackson and Carl G. Rosberg
World Politics
Vol. 35, No. 1 (Oct., 1982), pp. 1-24
DOI: 10.2307/2010277
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2010277
Page Count: 24
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Why Africa's Weak States Persist: The Empirical and the Juridical in Statehood
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Abstract

State institutions and organizations in Black Africa are less developed than almost anywhere else, and political instability has been prevalent. Yet, these serious empirical weaknesses have not led to enforced jurisdictional change. In order to explain the persistence of some of the weakest states in the world, the authors argue that state jurisdictions in Black Africa have been maintained primarily by the international society of states. Unlike the states that formed in Europe at an earlier period, many Black African states evolved--and survived--in the absence of effective national governments. Whereas state jurisdictions and international society once were consequences of the success and survival of states, today in Black Africa--and perhaps elsewhere, especially in the Third World--they are more likely to be conditions.

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