The Interregnum: the South's Insecurity Dilemma
Nations and Nationalism, 3, (1), . (doi:10.1111/j.1354-5078.1997.00045.x).
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This article investigates the ‘insecurity dilemma’ facing many Third World states arising from the fact that multiple ethnic communities reside within their borders. In terms of analysing the types of states that exist in the ‘South’, much of the literature on this phenomenon serves to confuse the various elements of state power and, therefore, the reasons for the existence and persistence of internal threats to Third World states. It is posited that the ‘insecurity dilemma’ has three possible sources: a lack of coercive means by the state for imposing its rule; a deficient infrastructure; and a lack of legitimacy. In examining the persistence of the ‘insecurity dilemma’ the article focuses on the third dimension of state power and the possible diminution of challenges from ethnic communities within a state's borders via the process of nation-building. The possibility that it will only be a matter of time before the embryonic states of the South will emulate the success of European states in achieving some degree of domestic consensus is highly questionable when the processes of nation-building are examined, for two reasons. Firstly, the emphasis placed on ‘modernisation’– infrastructural development and state imposition of a national ‘high’ culture – may be misplaced. Secondly, because of their peripheral status in the world economy the assimilative tendencies associated with ‘modernisation’ may take an extremely long time in arriving.
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