Beyond State Crisis? Africa and Post-Colonial Eurasia in Comparative Perspective studies sub-Saharan Africa and the former Soviet Union, two regions beset by the breakdown of states suffering from extreme official corruption, organized crime extending into warlordism, the disintegration of human services and economic institutions, and the breakdown of state after state. The book examines state breakdown, democratization, economic reform, ethnicity, and the status of women, and it compares the consequences of postcommunism and postcolonialism. The contributors, representing fields such as political science, international relations, and sociology, come from the United States, Russia, Georgia, Sudan, and South Africa.

Mark R. Beissinger and Crawford Young are professors of political science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Both are former Fellows of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.


Part I: Overview and Retrospective
1. Introduction: Comparing State Crises across Two Continents
Mark R. Beissinger and Crawford Young
2. Convergence to Crisis: Pre-Independence State Legacies and Post-Independence State Breakdown in Africa and Eurasia
Mark R. Beissinger and Crawford Young

Part II: Sovereignty, Violence, and War
3. At the Edge of the World: Boundaries, Territoriality, and Sovereignty in Africa
Achille Mbembe
4. Who Is Strong When the State Is Weak? Violent Entrepreneurship in Russia’s Emerging Markets
Vadim Volkov
5. Mafiya Troubles, Warlord Crises
William Reno
6. Weak States and Private Armies
Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr.
7. Civil Wars and State-Building in Africa and Eurasia
David Holloway and Stephen John Stedman
8. The Effects of State Crisis on African Interstate Relations (and Comparisons with Post-Soviet Russia)
Donald Rothchild

Part III: Democratization and Political Economy
9. Russia: Unconsolidated Democracy, Creeping Authoritarianism
Lilia Shevtsova
10. War, State-Making, and Democracy in Africa
Richard Joseph
11. The East Goes South: International Aid and the Production of Convergence in Africa and Eurasia
Peter J. Savrakis
12. Economic Reform and the Discourse of Democracy in Africa: Resolving the Contradictons
Peter M. Lewis

Part IV. State and Society
13. Ethnicity and State-Building: Accommodating Ethnic Differences in Post-Soviet Eurasia
Gail W. Lapidus
14. Beyond Cultural Domination: Institutionalizing Equity in the African State
Francis M. Deng
15. Women and Political Change in Post-Soviet Eurasia and Postcolonial Africa
Aili Mari Tripp

Part V: Beyond State Crisis?
16. Putting the State Back Together in Post-Soviet Georgia
Ghia Nodia
17. After the Fall: State Rehabilitation in Uganda
Crawford Young
18. The Effective State in Postcolonial Africa and Post-Soviet Eurasia: Hopeless Chimera or Possible Dream?
Mark R. Beissinger and Crawford Young 


“This volume is one of the few comparative studies of the two regions. As such, it reaches for broader and more theoretical generalizations across distinct geographical and cultural ines, rendering the book novel, informative, and unique”—Choice

“The excellent scholarly studies in [Beyond State Crisis?] offer both in-depth focus on specific countries and problems and useful comparative speculation regarding similarities and differences between the Eurasian and African experiences. They make a strong case for the serious scholarly comparison of the two regions.… Any scholar interested in comparative studies and international relations will find a wealth of substantive detail and theoretical discussion by expert observers of state effectiveness and breakdown in this important book.”—Forest L. Grieves, Perspectives on Political Science

“This is a serious and important book that makes a contribution to our understanding of state effectiveness, state breakdown, and violence in Africa and Eurasia. The comparison between the two broad regions is creatively handled and introduced. The individual chapters, all by prominent experts in their fields, are based on solid research and offer insights that are original and of considerable policy importance. If you want to know how weak states work—or don’t work—this book is essential reading.”—Charles King, Georgetown University