State dynamics

 In addition to the processes of loss of legitimacy and state power, Modus Operandi is interested in the re-organisation of the state after a crisis or conflict, with a special focus on the state-society relation. This brings us to study, among others, the existence of different types of demand for the state.

Long-term processes (history and anthropology) are favoured in this analysis as well as recent transformations resulting from conflict dynamics.

Working group on Post-crisis State transformation

Modus Operandi is engaged in an interdisciplinary collaboration with the “Espace Europe” at the University Pierre Mendes France. The Espace Europe approaches transition from an economic and juridical perspective with a specific focus on post-soviet countries. Modus Operandi uses anthropological and sociological tools to understand the transition from a political point of view. The working group has organised a series of seminars and an international conference in Grenoble and in Linköping, Sweden. In addition, Modus Operandi has created a collection of case-studies on transition processes in post-conflict and post-Soviet situations; a study commissioned by the French Ministry of Defence on the processes of State failure and possible responses of international State actors as well as a series of articles on the emergence of legitimate power for the Institute for Research and Debate on Governance (IRG).

The European Science Foundation has granted an award to this initiative to organise an international research conference on “Post-crisis State transformation, rethinking the foundations of the State”, which took place in Sweden in May 2009. Click here to read a selection of paper presentations.

The working group argues that we need to further our understanding of processes of State transformation in post-crisis contexts beyond normative and instrumental perspectives of state-building and we need concepts that describe states in terms of what they are are, rather than what they are not like "failed, weak and fragile". In collaboration with a group of international researchers we have identified the following concepts: Hollow State; Heterogenous State; Interactive State; Multinational State; Parallel governance; Mediated State; Hybrid political orders; Everyday forms of state formation and Institutional multiplicity

Post-crisis, the institionalisation of power

(Sortie de crise, institutionnalisation du pouvoir)

In the case of post- armed conflict and of state reconstruction, the challenge is to create a collective space and a sense of community. There needs to be a collective sense of belonging to a State with which the entire population can identify. We will be questioning how the idea of the public interest is perceived and managed.

Among the processes of institutionalisation of power, reconciliation must be mentioned in first place. It is one of the first steps to be undertaken in the aftermath of a conflict in order for people to be able to envisage a shared future. The paradox here lies in the fact that this is also the step which takes the longest to achieve. That is why those in power must give a strong lead in this process, whilst being aware that they will not be the ones that will benefit from its results.

Among the other processes of institutionalisation that are high on the agenda are power sharing and the emergence of central authority. Indeed a violent conflict, can be analysed from the political point of view as a fragmentation of power due to challenges to central government. This re-organization of state institutions and of its relations with its citizens must be based on certain principles recognising for example interdependencies, accommodating diversity and multiculturalism, or the distribution of public services.

L'émergence d'un pouvoir central dans le contexte de sortie de crise: Comment structurer la diversité des pouvoirs issus d’un conflit pour organiser l’Etat?     Read
Les processus instituants à la base de la gouvernance: La nécessaire émergence d’une identité nationale     Read

Les processus instituants à la base de la gouvernance:  Les enjeux de l’organisation d’une justice et d’une armée nationales en l’Afghanistan     Read

Les processus instituants: la réconciliation: L'après-guerre ou l'avènement des divisions ethniques:  L’après-guerre ou l’avènement des divisions ethniques: les obstacles à la réconciliation en Bosnie-Herzégovine.     Read

Les processus instituants~: la justice: Le Tribunal Pénal Internationale pour l’ex-Yougoslavie: justice internationale en Bosnie-Herzégovine     Read


L'encadrement des Etats faillis (2007)
The Prevention and stabilisation of failed states was a study carried out for the Direction des affaires stratégiques for the french Ministry of Defence with the partnership of the Institut Français d'Analyse Stratégique in Paris. 
This study looked at indicators and causes of 'state failure' as well as ways that these problems can be approached from and international perspective.

Summary (English)

Official report (French)

Annex: Interviews

Transition and state reform (2005)

(Processus de transistion et réforme d'Etat)
The origin of this project lies the extensive experience of the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation with supporting initiatives in countries ridden with conflict or political crisis. A need was felt to draw some conclusions from this experience and to develop an analytical framework of political transitions and state reform processes in post-crsis situations. In a first stage, we compared the process of political transition in ten countries: Afghanistan, Bosnie-Herzgovina, Cambodia, China, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Poland, Russia, South Africa, and Uzbekistan. In a second stage this analytical model was put up for debate with a wide variety of people from civil society, academia, political leaders and customary leaders in various countries, both in Europe and countries under study
Published online@Irenées or download here