Edited by Paul Jackson
The concepts of hybridity and hybrid political orders have gained considerable momentum in peace and conflict studies (Boege et al. 2009a, 2009b, 2009c; Clements et al. 2007; Mac Ginty 2011; Richmond 2010, 2011; Roberts 2011). These concepts form part of a growing critique of the fragile state discourse through which the modern state is contrasted with traditional or non-state modes of political ordering in the Global South. As such, hybrid political orders propose an alternative lens that aims to move beyond normative notions of fragility and failure and beyond dichotomous thinking that articulates states and non-states as discrete and independent actors and institutions. Instead, the concepts of hybridity and hybrid political orders offer starting points for comprehending the processes at work between diverse and competing authority structures, sets of rules, logics of order and claims to power that co-exist, overlap, interact and intertwine. The uneasy blending of these spheres is the explicit focus of the hybridity lens (Boege et al. 2009a, 2009b, 2009c; Mac Ginty 2010, 2011; Richmond 2010, 2011). While the concept of hybrid orders has gained traction, its analytical utility remains contested. It has been criticized for reproducing the very binaries that it seeks to overcome, as it relies on analytical categories that represent the hybrid order as an amalgamation of state-based liberal order and local order (or state and non-state).
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