ASTK15356U COURSE: International Aspects of State Fragility

Volume 2015/2016

Fragile states pose unique problems for those states directly concerned by such extreme weakness, but also the international community. This course focuses on understanding the drivers of state fragility, the related externalities, and what steps might counteract the domestic and international problems related to such situations. This graduate seminar surveys the literature and data on extreme state weakness, fragility and collapse in the developing world. It considers the causes and consequences of state fragility and related issues of civil war and the emergence of strong non‐state actors that can challenge the state’s monopoly of violence within its territory. We examine such questions as: Why do states become fragile? Can we recognize and anticipate where and when state fragility may emerge? What mitigating factors might help reverse negative trends and assist in the achievement of secure, sustainable environments for local populations once weakness sets in? Most importantly, this course asks: What are the challenges that state fragility present for the international community, including issues such as massive refugee flows, economic disruption, terrorism, and transnational crime?

Learning Outcome

The course will provide invaluable skills and knowledge for anyone seeking to work on international issues and gain the practical ability to analyze countries around the globe. Understanding the political dynamics of states is invaluable for a wide range of careers, whether working for international agencies, multilateral organizations, non-profit organizations, corporations, or governments.


Seth Kaplan, Fixing Fragile States: A New Paradigm for Development (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2008).


Plus numerous journal articles and policy papers.

This course will combine several types of instruction and collaborative learning. This includes lectures, a several videos, group discussions/work and student presentations.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assesment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner