A conceptualisation of the dysfunctional state
Greffrath, Wynand Neethling
MetadataShow full item record
In recent decades, the phenomenon of post-colonial state dysfunction has received increased attention, from both popular and academic perspectives. In a political world order where the existence of states are assumed as fundamentally normal, and in fact necessary for the maintenance of the international status quo, the increasing tendency for certain states of the developing world to succumb to dysfunction is viewed with some alarm. Such instances of state dysfunction have been variously and inconsistently described as failed states, weak states, collapsed states, et cetera. The aforementioned terms are currently in widespread use with the media, as well as academia. This study demonstrates that hitherto, there has been scant scholarly attention devoted to the theoretical conceptualisation and definition of this phenomenon, which it terms the dysfunctional state – thereby dispensing with the manifold confusing terms noted in the literature, for example, failed states. Building upon a thorough and clear exposition of the meta-scientific assumptions regarding the nature and functions of science, particularly in the application of this study, the concept of state is reconstructed. This serves as the orienting feature in the theoretical landscape of state dysfunction, from which the deviant characteristics of dysfunctional states may be juxtaposed with the attributes of the ideal-typical state. The aberrant characteristics of dysfunctional states are analysed from the works of three influential scholars, namely Joel S. Migdal, Robert H. Jackson, and Samuel P. Huntington. The insights of each author, in the guise of the scientific constructs they employ, are subsequently reconstructed, interpreted, and evaluated, whilst consistently invoking the tenets of the ideal-typical statehood in a methodologically uniform manner. What results from this process is a conceptualisation (i.e. the application of scientific constructs in the investigation of a phenomenon) of the dysfunctional state, which is subsequently presented in the form of a theoretical definitional statement.
- Humanities