The concept of “state failure,” launched in the early 1990s, and its current incarnation as "state fragility," rapidly became an accepted way to frame interventionary policies and practices of major multilateral actors such as the World Bank and the OECD. This talk will trace the genesis and evolution of the state fragility discourse, focusing on the way in which different organizations and actors have shaped the concept to their particular interests. The interaction of expert knowledge-creation and data with multilateral security and development policies also highlights how certain forms of "knowing the world" have been privileged in the constitution of this field of global public policy. The implications of these indicators for security governance and development assistance policies have been profound, in the Global South and beyond.
Keith Krause is Professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, Director of its Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding and Visiting Fellow at the IWM.
Sebastian Haug, Researcher at the German Development Institute and IWM Visiting Fellow, provided the comment.