During the course of the last decades, the state experienced a revival on the scene of international development as there has been a growing acknowledgment amongst the international development community that the state plays a key role in enabling development in a specific society. Therefore, the role of the state and especially the concept of state-building have occupied a central place in the development discourse. In that respect, a growing interest has manifested itself in the discussion and analysis around so-called "fragile states". The author discussed the development discourse around that state-building paradigm in general and focuses through its field research in Colombia specifically on the question of the state legitimacy in so-called fragile contexts.
Marc De Santis is a development worker for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation currently based in Ethiopia.