Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Public authority and the provision of public goods in conflict-affected and transitioning regions

Hoffman, Kasper and Kirk, Thomas (2013) Public authority and the provision of public goods in conflict-affected and transitioning regions. . Justice and Security Research Programme, International Development Department, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

PDF - Published Version
Download (1MB) | Preview


This paper uses a systematic literature review to suggest that three emerging critical approaches to the production of public authority are identifiable within the contemporary literature on conflict-affected and transitioning regions. The authors term these approaches the ‘public authority from below perspective’, the ‘hybrid political orders lens’, and ‘political settlements analysis’. Although hailing from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, the paper argues that these approaches share important traits. First, they suggest that to understand better the nature of public authority in transitioning and conflict-affected regions it is necessary to uncover how public authority actually works rather than departing from a theory of the state. This includes accounting for how power is legitimated and practiced within each context, and how claims to public authority are connected to the provision of public goods such as security and justice. Second, they view competition, conflict and contestation as enduring features of public authority in such contexts, and call for empirical examinations of these processes to inform understandings of social change. Third, these approaches argue that public authority is an emergent property, always in production and never definitively formed. This implies that neat dichotomies such as formal/informal, private/public, and modern/traditional should be applied with caution by analysts seeking to understand public authority from the perspective of people living with insecurity and change. Despite these similarities, the paper's conclusion suggests that these approaches should be unpacked and their normative assumptions challenged. Each can then be drawn upon to arrive at empirical understandings of how public authority is produced and exercised, and how it relates to the provision of public goods in conflict-affected and transitioning regions.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 The Authors
Divisions: International Development
Justice and Security Research Programme
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2014 10:10
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2020 00:18
Projects: Justice and Security Research Programme (JSRP)
Funders: UK aid, UK Government

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics