The state under the new wars reality
: perspectives and repercussions

  • Vera de José Morais Figo Ribeiro da Cunha (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The author’s objective in this dissertation is to explore the relationship between the “new wars” thesis and the state, showing that “new wars” have an impact on the state’s core structure, and vice versa. Accordingly, it is our view the state has an essential input in “new wars”. Our central question is: what type of state is more likely to struggle with “new wars”? The hypothesis advances that weak or failed states offer the best conditions and circumstances for “new wars” to develop, primarily because “new wars” affect and rely on the erosion, or complete elimination, of two core elements of the state: legitimacy and the monopoly of force. Although several authors are considered, the main source for information and analyses is Mary Kaldor for being one of the central contributors to the elaboration and defense of the “new wars” thesis: this will be discussed as well. The dissertation is organized into three chapters which guide the reader through the argument. This dissertation starts with an explanation of what “new wars” are; followed by a reflection on the state- what composes a state, the importance of legitimacy and upholding the monopoly of force, the problem of weak and failed states-; finally tackling the case study of the Bosnian-Herzegovina war, to offer a more practical insight. The motivation to pursue this dissertation surges from the curiosity to find out if “new wars” can depict contemporary warfare reality. If it does, it will be helpful to understand it in order to solve present conflicts. In conclusion the hypothesis, according to this research, is seen as accurate establishing that failed and weak states are primary incubators for “new wars” and that the erosion of the core elements of the state are at the center of the “new wars” dynamic
Date of Award2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorMónica Dias (Supervisor)


  • Mestrado em Governação, Liderança e Estudos sobre a Democracia

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