Theories of international relations, assumed to be universally applicable, have failed to explain the creation of states in Africa. There, the interaction of power and space is dramatically different from what occurred in Europe. In States and Power in Africa, Jeffrey Herbst places the African state-building process in a truly comparative perspective. Herbst’s bold contention―that the conditions now facing African state-builders existed long before European penetration of the continent―is sure to provoke controversy, for it runs counter to the prevailing assumption that colonialism changed everything.
This revised edition includes a new preface in which the author links the enormous changes that have taken place in Africa over the past fifteen years to long-term state consolidation. The final chapter on policy prescriptions has also been revised to reflect the evolution of African and international responses to state failure.