Beyond Governmentality: Building Theory for Weak and Fragile States

Priscilla Magrath


Every discipline has its blind spots. In this discussion piece I suggest that International Development can help Anthropology address one of its blind spots, namely the problem of weak government. Whereas those working in international development encounter the effects of weak government in their daily work, anthropological theory offers limited analytical tools for these contexts. Rather than focusing on developments many failings, perhaps it is time for Anthropology to adopt a more constructive approach, drawing on the experience of development workers to develop anthropological theory which can speak to the condition of contemporary weak states.


theory building; weak and fragile states; governmentality; international development; anthropology of development

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Anthropology Matters Journal ISSN: 17586453 Publisher: Anthropology Matters url: