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Waiting for dignity: legitimacy and authority in Afghanistan

Weigand, Florian ORCID: 0000-0003-2629-0934 (2022) Waiting for dignity: legitimacy and authority in Afghanistan. Columbia University Press, New York, USA. ISBN 9780231200493 (In Press)

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In August 2021, Taliban fighters entered the presidential palace in Kabul, ending twenty years of international efforts to build a democratic state in Afghanistan. Did the Taliban’s success rest on coercion and violence alone, or did they win the battle for public support through ideology and better services? Or did most people in the country not believe in the idea of the state at all, trusting only local elders and traditional councils? What is the source of legitimacy during armed conflict? In Waiting for Dignity, Florian Weigand investigates legitimacy and its absence in Afghanistan. Drawing on hundreds of interviews, he examines the perspectives of ordinary people in Afghanistan as well as those of rival claimants to authority: insurgents, warlords, members of parliament, security forces, and community leaders. By exploring how different types of authority attempted to legitimize their rule, Waiting for Dignity challenges common assumptions about how to build legitimacy, such as by delivering services, holding elections, or adopting traditional institutions. Weigand shows that what matters in conflict zones is dignity: People judge authorities on the basis of their day-to-day experiences with them. The extent to which people perceive interactions to be fair, inclusive, and respectful is vital to the construction of lasting order. Combining theoretical originality with in-depth and compelling empirical detail, this book offers timely new insights into recent developments in Afghanistan and the challenges facing conflict-torn areas more widely.

Item Type: Book
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 Columbia University Press
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
J Political Science > JC Political theory
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2022 15:51
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 13:33

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