Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Rendering Afghanistan legible: borders, frontiers and the ‘state’ of Afghanistan

Manchanda, Nivi (2017) Rendering Afghanistan legible: borders, frontiers and the ‘state’ of Afghanistan. Politics, 37 (4). pp. 386-401. ISSN 0263-3957

Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (350kB) | Preview
Identification Number: 10.1177/0263395717716013


The aim of this article is to show how the partial colonisation of Afghanistan and its ‘frontier status’ have generated discourses of state failure, which have led to the construal of Afghanistan as a zone of exception and of permanent crisis. The main argument is that colonial spatialisations have an enduring legacy that continues to structure the ways in which we experience and think about the Afghan state today. The construction of Afghanistan today as a ‘failed state’ has emerged through a historical (Anglophone) discourse that has relied heavily on the trope of the ‘frontier’ to make sense of the place between India and Central Asia. Thus, the ‘frontier’ has played a formative role in defining Afghanistan as a state and space and this plays out in how we interact – through representation, policies, and intervention – with the state in the global realm today. The import of this extends far and wide and has ramifications for our understanding of coloniality and liminality in contemporary international relations (IR), including scholarship on sovereignty statehood, and borders. It also has implications for a range of states and places that are considered ‘fragile’, ‘failing’, or ‘failed’

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 The Author © CC BY-NC 4.0
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2018 16:46
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2018 16:57

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics