Since 1998 Guinea-Bissau has suffered a series of coups which outside analysts have linked to its emergence as West Africa's first 'narco-state'. Yet what does this mean for the country and the nature of the state in postcolonial Africa? What links Guinea-Bissau's instability with questions of wider regional and global security? What would a stable government look like in Guinea-Bissau, and what are the conditions for its achievement? The book constitutes the first synthetic attempt to grasp the consequences of the crisis in Guinea-Bissau. It fills a void in scholarship and policy analysis with a synthesis of both what has happened in the country and the wider implications for postcolonial African nation-building. With the current crisis in Mali, and rising interest among geopolitical actors in the region's stability, the contributors offer timely reflections on the causes and consequences of instability in one of Africa's most fragile states. Together they demonstrate how the undermining of the ideological construction of post-colonial African states derives from the historical fragilities and geopolitical conflicts which are acted out there. This is also the last book that Patrick Chabal, a significant scholar in contemporary political theory related to Africa, worked on.