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From Nation-Building to State-Building: The Geopolitics of Development, the Nation-State System and the Changing Global Order

Mark T. Berger
Third World Quarterly
Vol. 27, No. 1, From Nation-Building to State-Building (2006), pp. 5-25
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4017656
Page Count: 21
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From Nation-Building to State-Building: The Geopolitics of Development, the Nation-State System and the Changing Global Order
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Abstract

This introductory article emphasises the need to put the contemporary nation-building (state-building) effort in post-Saddam Iraq and elsewhere in historical perspective. With the resurgence of a powerful international discourse on nation-building that draws very selectively on the ostensible lessons of earlier nation-building successes and failures since 1945 (in fact the term nation-building is increasingly being substituted for the less problematic concept of state-building), it is more important than ever to set the idea and practice of nation-building in the context of decolonisation, the universalisation of the nation-state system, the geopolitics of the rise and fall of the Cold War and the transformation of the global political economy between the 1950s and the 1990s. In contrast to a growing number of quantitative and technocratic studies of nation-building and political instability, the article emphasises the profound need for broad qualitative analysis that historicises and de-routinises nation-building and the international system of nation-states in order to facilitate better and more critical engagement with contemporary nation-building and the wider crisis of the nation-state system of the early 21st century.

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