Extralegal Groups in Post-Conflict Liberia: How Trade Makes the State

ISBN : 9780199673346

Christine Cheng
384 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
May 2018
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This book examines how the economic survival strategies of former fighters can help explain the trajectories of war-to-peace transitions. It offers a close-up look at how ex-combatants navigated their way through the Liberian economy after civil war destroyed the country, and how their incentives shaped the demand for extralegal groups and extralegal governance. While groups like these tend to be depicted as peace 'spoilers', they were also basic governance providers who ensured a stable commercial environment for the production of rubber, diamonds, and timber. The extralegal groups framework reveals how societies can create institutions even where the rule of law and political authority are both contested, and how trade- not war- creates the core motivation for forming these institutions. In setting out this argument, the book poses some uncomfortable questions about what it means to be legitimately governed, whether our trust in states is ultimately misplaced, whether entrenched corru


Part I. Extralegal Groups
1 How to Study Extralegal Groups
2 Theoretical Framework
Part II. How Context Matters
3 History and Society
4 Civil War
Part III. Economic Sectors
5 Rubber
6 Diamonds
7 Timber
Part IV. Trade Makes the State
8 Conclusion: Extralegal Groups are Statebuilders
9 Research Design Scaffolding
Appendix A. Statistics on Killings

About the author: 

Dr Christine Cheng is Lecturer in War Studies at King's College London. She is co-editor of Corruption and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding: Selling the Peace? and she sits on the Conflict Research Society's Governing Council. Her publications include Corruption and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding: Selling the Peace? (co-authored with Dominik Zaum, Routledge, 2011).

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