Handbook on Intervention and Statebuilding
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Handbook on Intervention and Statebuilding

Edited by Nicolas Lemay-Hébert

This innovative Handbook offers a new perspective on the cutting-edge conceptual advances that have shaped – and continue to shape – the field of intervention and statebuilding.
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Chapter 20: The spatial dimensions of statebuilding

Annika Björkdahl and Stefanie Kappler


This chapter investigates statebuilding as a spatial process. It suggests that we can understand the emergence of new states as a process that emerges from processes of place-making and space-making, with a material and symbolic dimension to it. We argue that when place-making and space-making are taking place in parallel, statebuilding can be successful for those actors who have a stake in it. Referring to the case studies of Republika Srpska in Bosnia-Herzegovina as well as Kosovo, we show that the processes of place-making and space-making need to stretch across different political scales in order to generate the recognition at both domestic and international levels that the statebuilding process requires. Whilst Kosovo has managed to obtain political recognition specifically at the international scale, Republika Srpska’s recognition has largely remained restricted to its domestic audience.

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