Building the State and the Nation in Kosovo and East TimorAfter Conflict
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The study of externally-led democratisation in conflict-affected societies has expanded over the last two decades. The introduction of democracy from the outside has attracted extensive scholarly interest in accordance with the increasing engagement of the United Nations and other international agents in attempting to build long-lasting domestic, regional and international peace through promoting democratic forms of government in the post-Cold War era. The studies conducted to investigate democratisation in post-conflict societies have focused on the construction of government institutions and transferring necessary institutional competencies due to the fact that externally-driven democratisation policies target the state rather than the nation. In this respect, some studies undertaken to examine the process of democratisation in post-conflict societies pointed to the need for sequencing of tasks such as establishing security, law and order and building strong and capable government institutions in the first place. Their focus, however, has still remained on the state rather than the nation. Through examining two case studies, this thesis emphasises two significant points: 1) achieving successful democratic transformation in conflict-affected societies requires not only the construction of functioning central state institutions but also the creation of a shared sense of national community; and 2) sequencing of post-conflict reconstruction tasks therefore should also involve building a sense of national cohesion through promoting social communication, participation and inclusion in political, institutional and social processes while postponing the competitive or potentially conflictual aspects of democracy. The need to integrate the creation of a sense of shared national community into studies of democracy promotion in societies emerging from conflict stems from the fact that the reconstruction of post-conflict societies involves two separate but complementary and interacting processes. These processes were examined under two headings: state-building and nation-building. The construction of well-functioning, effective government institutions and the achievement of a sense of national community were found to be vital, inter-connected factors to consolidate democratic rule promoted by external actors. The lack of or a weak sense of social cohesion has an undermining effect on the capacity of state institutions to exercise authority and effectively and democratically perform their roles and duties. Failing to deliver their functions to the public and exercise political authority throughout the entire territory, weak state institutions, in return, do not provide a suitable environment for consolidating democratic rule, which requires the execution of the rule of law and protection and guaranteeing of citizens’ political rights.