Rendering Afghanistan legible: Borders, frontiers and the ‘state’ of Afghanistan
386 - 401
MetadataShow full item record
© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017. 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’.