re: Failed State of Political Theory
A very interesting document on 'Failed States' is Foreign Policy's "Failed States Index":
It appears on their website with the tagline "The World's Most Vulnerable Nations -- And the Bad Guys Who Keep Them That Way". (Because we know that the world's problems are all down to evil black men, obviously.)
It ranges from the insensitive and oversimplifying to the overbearingly orientalist (not to say borderline racist), but that is the 'failed state' thesis all over.
Whoever heard of, instead of a 'failed' state, a 'successful' tribal structure? Presumably because such pre-modern notions are inherent failures -- only states can either fail OR succeed.
The state is the only game in town even when it's not.
There is a large body of literature on this topic within security studies but it hasn't made a dent on the neoliberal mainstream (which Foreign Policy embodies thoroughly).