Complex Political Emergencies and the State

Published on 1 January 1999

It is argued that an understanding of the role and nature of the state and of processes of state collapse are vital for understanding Complex Political Emergencies for various practical reasons and for drawing general lessons from particular experiences: CPEs are often rooted in prior state collapse; humanitarian assistance may have to contend with a fractured, ineffective or non-existent state; part of post-conflict recovery will involve reconstituting the state. Such lessons can only be generalised where there is some degree of shared context and experience. As a tool for facilitating comparisons of like with like and for understanding the inter-relatedness of several factors, a typology of situations is drawn up on the basis of the state and its dynamics and of the origins, forms and trajectory of the CPE and of interventions into it.


Robin Luckham

Emeritus Fellow

Publication details

Luckham, R. and Cliffe, L.
Third World Quarterly, volume 20, issue 1


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