Main Content
Florian Kuehn
May 17, 2010

When statebuilding efforts are underway, we tend to focus on institutions and state agencies, economic development (growth) or the establishment of the rule of law. Little attention, however, is paid to how the new state organizes its economic reproduction. When external funds, which can be understood as rents in a sense well established in economics, dominate public budgets, political considerations will circle around securing the rent rather than responding to public demands for goods and services. However, states where rents originate from still paradoxically lack influence in the concerned political process. In any way, state elites fail to acquire legitimacy that would be needed to secure sufficient public support and, in turn, stabilize the state.

This presentation looks at how rentier mechanisms work, also taking the role of Afghanistan's drug rentiers into account. Counterintuitively, it argues, less funds and better targeted funds are important to provide legitimacy.

About the Speaker:

Florian Kuehn studied German Literature and Linguistics, Sociology and Political Science in Leipzig, Alicante (Spain) and Hamburg, where he obtained a Master's degree in Political Science/International Relations in 2002 with a thesis about Group Dynamics in the Basque ETA. During this period, he also was a member of the Study Group for the Causes of War at Hamburg University, monitoring the war(s) in Uganda and publishing in the group's yearbook 'Das Kriegsgeschehen'. Continuing topic related studies, he did a Master's course 'Peace and Security Studies' at Hamburg's Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy (IFSH) and Frankfurt's Peace research Institute (PRIF). His MPS thesis centred around the question if terrorism could be countered by military means and was concerned with Afghanistan; it was published in 2005.

Subsequently, more research around Afghanistan followed, some of it published in edited volumes, but also in the 'Peace survey' (2005) and Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding (2008). He obtained his PhD in 2009, published May 12th, 2010 and entitled 'Security and Development in World Society. Liberal Paradigm and Statebuilding in Afghanistan'. On research leave until June 2010, he is an Assistant Professor and Senior Researcher at Hamburg's Helmut Schmidt University. Current research interests are risks and their social construction, risk deflection policy of Western states and sub-state risk constellations.