Introduction: Nomad-State Relationships in International Relations

Jamie Levin, Joseph MacKay

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    State consolidation has commonly been understood as depending on the coercive power of governments. Nomads are less easily coerced than settled populations and are difficult to track or otherwise administratively document, tax, or conscript. Nomads, therefore, undermine or stand outside of the core features of the modern international order. However, they also present a challenge to the legitimacy of the state. Nomadic societies are not just non-state actors. They are non-state Emphasis Type=“Italic”political communities Emphasis, independent, or potentially so, in their modes of social ordering. Fixed and monopolistic territoriality is important not only to the efficiency of modern states but it is also a defining element of their identity. As such, nomads challenge the legitimacy of modern statehood. Furthermore, their lack of fixity stands at odds with the project of modern nationalism. The movement of a cohesive group across, and their presence within, national borders is contrary to the notion that a particular geographically bounded area (i.e., a state) is the exclusive home to one people who share a common language, culture, and history (i.e., a nation). Among premodern states, migratory peoples were commonly derided as uncivilized, barbarian, or archaic. These biases seem to have persisted even in the context of scant material threats.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationNomad-State Relationships in International Relations: Before and After Borders
    Editors Jamie Levin
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd
    ISBN (Print)978-3030280529
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    Dive into the research topics of 'Introduction: Nomad-State Relationships in International Relations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this