This Independent Study examines the relationship between political and security governance and state failure. Using a comparative case study methodology, it analyzes three cases: Somalia and the Sudan, two states that top the Fragile State Index’s “very high alert” category every year for instability, and Algeria, a state that is doing comparatively well and enjoying relative stability. Both functionalist and neofunctionalist theories are used to frame the phenomenon of state failure and explain how and why it can happen. These theories better explain the role of human agency and leadership in state failure. The hypothesis that poor political and security governance explains state failure is supported in both Sudan and Somalia, but not in Algeria, most likely due to the extreme centralization in the latter case. It is the hope that this Independent Study will serve to shed some light on the phenomenon of state failure and encourage future research on the matter.


N'Diaye, Boubacar


International Relations


International and Area Studies


state, failure, state failure, Africa, Somalia, Algeria, Sudan, governance

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2016 Rebecca E. Hamilton