Reinstating the state monopoly on the legitimate use of force continues to be the key strategy used to pacify conflict zones and rebuild so-called ‘fragile states’. At the same time, the empirically measurable effects of state armed forces extending their reach throughout their country on people’s security are at best ambivalent. This project investigates the often paradoxical relationship between the processes of security production in the local security arena and inhabitants’ perceptions of their own security.
Why do states’ attempts to monopolize the use of force at times create divergent objective and subjective levels of security?
To date, the debate in the literature has explained the merits and pitfalls of a state monopoly on the legitimate use of violence for security, particularly from a theoretical angle. Scholars have analysed how pluralized political orders can also provide security to the populace. This project fills a gap between the two debates by investigating from an empirical angle how security is affected when the political order moves from pluralized to monopolized. It thus challenges the above-mentioned literature by asking: What happens to ‘areas of limited statehood’ when statehood is delimited? How does ‘public authority’ evolve locally when the state tries to take over? How do ‘oligopolies of violence’ adapt to monopolization attempts by the state? What is this ‘state as a process’ when the state actively seeks to extend its reach?