State Formation and the Politics of Regime Survival: Zimbabwe in theoretical perspective
Eriksen, Stein Sundstøl
This article analyses state formation in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. The main question posed is this: Why has state power eroded so dramatically? To answer this question, the development of the state is analysed in the light of general theories of state formation. In spite of a situation which according to prevailing theories was conducive for the formation of a strong state, Zimbabwe entered a downward spiral, where state power gradually eroded. To explain this, it is necessary to move beyond these theories, and analyse the changing nature of the ruling regime's constituencies. While security threats and sources of revenue are important, their impact on processes of state formation is mediated by the inter-relationship between ruling regimes and their constituencies, which is shaped by society's class structure.