Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


International Affairs

First Advisor

Dr. Michaele Ferguson

Second Advisor

Dr. Andrea Feldman

Third Advisor

Dr. Lucy Chester


Statebuilding, as it is currently understood, is not a sustainable policy because it is based on the premise that foreign actors have the ability to structure societies other than their own. This is the logic of imperialism. Instead, I propose two models, working in tandem, as an alternative to statebuilding. I will refer to them as Societybuilding & Autonomous Collaboration (SAC). Societybuilding stands in direct opposition to statebuilding. While it shares the goal of creating a sustainable society, it is a grassroots movement driven by locals, rather than a practice undertaken by international entities. The second component of SAC is autonomous collaboration (AC). It is a practical foreign policy that can be adopted by international actors wishing to assist societybuilders in their effort. Autonomous collaboration is based on the anarchic principle that local populations should maintain their own agency while engaging in societybuilding and external actors should assist, rather than usurp, the effort.