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Since the 1990s, ungoverned spaces have increasingly been seen as a source of serious instability and threat in the international system. Society regards ungoverned spaces as the absence of a state as the authoritative allocator of value, provider of collective goods, and holder of a monopoly of legitimate coercion. The obvious remedy, then, is state building. This apparently simple formulation obscures the complexity and variability of ungoverned spaces and the reason for their emergence. Moreover, this ignores the fact that ungoverned spaces may lack government but not governance. Ungoverned spaces can pose a security threat, but terrorist groups are rarely responsible for their creation; the reason for their emergence is poor governance that prompts the populations in these areas to render themselves ungovernable by the existing central state.