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CfP: External Actors And State (Re-)Construction, Cornell University: 11-12.11.2005

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    A Call for Papers External Actors and State (Re)-Construction, A Conference at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY November 11-12, 2005 The industrialized countries
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 29, 2005
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      A Call for Papers

      External Actors and State (Re)-Construction,

      A Conference at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

      November 11-12, 2005

      The industrialized countries have provided a steady flow of financial
      resources and technical assistance to low-income countries for several
      decades. The capacity of aid to improve the welfare of low- income
      populations should not be in doubt. Western aid has helped build roads,
      vaccinate kids and buy textbooks. Aid has been much less successful,
      however, in building effective public institutions. In fact, in countries
      like Rwanda or Haiti, a large donor presence could not prevent state
      collapse. Capacity building within the state apparatus remains an elusive
      goal in most low-income countries. It is particularly problematic where
      violent conflict has destroyed the central state, and donors, relief
      agencies and NGOs have in effect taken over most public functions. It is
      tempting to say that external agents lack the capacity to build strong
      indigenous organizations, yet outsiders appear to be able to structure
      politics in the same countries in some cases, notably in the field of
      externally-induced democratization.

      The conference will focus broadly on the impact of external actors on state
      construction and reconstruction in the developing world, as we start from
      the premise that there can be no sustainable development without effective
      indigenous public institutions. We ask questions such as: Why has state
      construction proved to be so difficult for aid? Does the fault lie in the
      approaches donors have followed? Are there alternative models of capacity
      building that traditional donors need to learn from? Are external agents
      simply unsuited for the tasks of creating and sustaining the legitimacy
      that public organizations require to be effective? Are some kinds of state
      structures easier to construct than others? What distinct problems, if
      any, are posed by the reconstruction of collapsed states? What are the
      emerging lessons of large-scale foreign intervention in countries like the
      Balkans or East Timor? What is the relationship between state construction
      and democratization? What role can outsiders play in the development of
      democratic governance?

      The conference will investigate both theoretical and policy issues. We are
      interested in understanding the impact of external assistance on local
      political, economic and institutional dynamics in broad comparative and
      theoretical terms. We are also interested in the policy lessons that are
      now available from very different situations on the ground, and look
      forward to papers that focus on specific case studies. In particular, it
      is striking how little cross-fertilization there has been until now between
      the analysts of traditional development aid and the emerging literature on
      state reconstruction in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, or Sierra

      The conference will commission a small number of outside papers, and
      welcomes proposals for papers from the Cornell community. The papers will
      be published in the Einaudi Center Working Paper series, and perhaps in an
      edited volume. Inquiries should be addressed to Nic van de Walle
      (nv38@...) or Heike Michelsen (hm75@...). The deadline for
      proposals will be August 1, 2005.
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