The Sovereignty Paradox: The Norms and Politics of International Statebuilding

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The post-cold war years have witnessed an unprecedented involvement by the United Nations in the domestic affairs of states, to end conflicts and rebuild political and administrative institutions. International administrations established by the UN or Western states have exercised extensive executive, legislative, and judicial authority over post-conflict territories to facilitate institution building and provide for interim governance.

This book is a study of the normative framework underlying the international community's statebuilding efforts. Through detailed case studies of policymaking by the international administrations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and East Timor, based on extensive interviews and work in the administrations, the book examines the nature of this normative framework, and highlights how norms shape the institutional choices of statebuilders, the relationship between international and local actors, and the exit strategies of international administrations. The book argues that a particular conception of sovereignty as responsibility has influenced the efforts of international administrations, and shows that their statebuilding activities are informed by the idea that post-conflict territories need to meet certain normative tests before they are considered legitimate internationally. The restructuring of political and administrative practices to help post-conflict territories to meet these tests creates a sovereignty paradox: international administrations compromise one element of sovereignty—the right to self-government—in order to implement domestic reforms to legitimize the authority of local political institutions, and thus strengthen their sovereignty.

In the light of the governance and development record of the three international administrations, the book assesses the promises and the pathologies of statebuilding, and develops recommendations to improve their performance.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Zaum's normative analysis is a refreshing addition to the developing ITA [(international territorial administration)] canon."—International Affairs

"A growing array of international groups and organizations are now devoted to state building, and scholars are slowing developing a body of knowledge on its theory and practice. This book helps illuminate these efforts by looking at the ideas and norms that inform the activities of international agencies as they engage local actors."—G. John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs

"A magnificent achievement ... this book will stand out as an indispensable tool in the vast literature on the UN Security Council, set apart by the quality of its research, the wealth of extensive and carefully researched data it contains, as well as the diversity of viewpoints it offers."—Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199207435
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/29/2007
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Dominik Zaum is Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Reading. He has D.Phil. from the University of Oxford, and has worked on issues of post-conflict governance and statebuilding. He has previously been a Research Fellow in International Relations at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, and has worked for the Office of the High Representative in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

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Table of Contents

List of Figures     xi
List of Acronyms     xii
Introduction     1
Why Study Statebuilding and International Administrations?     1
Methodological Challenges     6
Outline of the Argument     15
Concepts and Theories
Sovereignty in International Society     27
The Problematic Concept of Sovereignty     28
Towards a New 'Standard of Civilization'?     38
International Administrations in International Society     51
A History of International Administrations     52
Sources of Authority of International Administrations     58
International Administrations in International Society     70
Case Studies
Statebuilding in Bosnia and Hercegovina     81
Background     82
Policymaking in Bosnia and Hercegovina I: The Reform of the Payment System and the Dismantling of the Payment Bureaux     98
Policymaking in Bosnia and Hercegovina II: The Reform of the State-level Civil Service     107
Sovereignty and Statebuilding in BiH     114
Statebuilding in Kosovo     127
Background     128
Policymaking in Kosovo I: Human Rights and the Reform of the Judicial System     144
Policymaking in Kosovo II: Property Rights andPrivatization     153
Sovereignty and Statebuilding in Kosovo     166
Statebuilding in East Timor     180
Background     181
Policymaking in East Timor I: Human Rights and the Reform of the Judicial System     195
Policymaking in East Timor II: Rebuilding the Civil Service     206
Sovereignty and Statebuilding in East Timor     213
The Sovereignty Paradox     226
Sovereignty in International Society     227
International Society and International Administrations     237
Conclusion     244
Bibliography     249
Index     274
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