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The stigmatisation of de facto states: disapproval and ‘engagement without recognition’

Ker-Lindsay, James (2018) The stigmatisation of de facto states: disapproval and ‘engagement without recognition’. Ethnopolitics, 17 (5). ISSN 1744-9057

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Identification Number: 10.1080/17449057.2018.1495363


Traditionally, the international community has rejected unilateral declarations of independence. As a result, de facto states—territories that have declared independence but are not members of the United Nations (UN)—have been stigmatised. However, not all secessionist de facto states are treated equally. Whereas some are wholly shunned, others enjoy a high degree of international interaction with the UN members that do not recognise them. This study explores why this is so and shows how levels of disapproval shape processes of engagement with non-recognising states. It notes that responses to cases of unilateral secession by states, and thus the stigma attached to de facto states, are shaped by three broad factors: systemic factors, contextual factors and national factors. Crucially, it is shown that the stigmatisation of individual de facto states can change over time and circumstance, and with it the degree of engagement without recognition enjoyed by that de facto state can vary.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 The Editor of Ethnopolitics
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > European Institute
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2018 11:34
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2021 02:29

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