Authority at twilight : civil society, social services, and the state in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
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dissertation examines the role of civil society actors in the social service sectors of two cities in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Although existing scholarship addresses the nature of state-society relations in collapsed states, less is known about how local institutions act to maintain "state" structures even when the state is absent. My project contributes to this literature by explaining why, in a failed state, some civil society organizations (CSO's) are more successful at providing social services than others. I hypothesize that variations in internal organizational cohesion account for these differences. Using an historical institutional approach, I examine the history, level of engagement with the state, ethnic composition, and level of international support of various CSO's in the eastern D.R. Congo as indicators of a CSO's level of organizational cohesion. I then compare fifteen structural indicators to determine each CSO's level of success in organizing social services, and conclude that CSO's with higher levels of internal organizational cohesion are more likely to successfully organize health and education structures in situations of state collapse. In addition, the portion of the study that addresses ethnic fragmentation in CSO's suggests that certain institutional arrangements can help local groups to overcome the well-documented barriers to inter-ethnic cooperation in public goods provision.