1st Edition

A Theory of De Facto States Classical Realism and Exceptional Polities

By Lucas Knotter Copyright 2024
    212 Pages
    by Routledge

    A Theory of De Facto States offers a new perspective on the phenomenon of de facto states — political communities that manifest forms of statehood in international politics but lack international legal recognition — zooming in on two prominent examples, Somaliland and Kosovo.

    Employing a thorough understanding of classical realist theories of international relations, this book provides a fresh critique of the common ways in which existing research tends to identify the ostensible state features of these communities. In contrast to the prevalent portrayals of such features in terms of international legal, discursive, and/or everyday logics, this book argues that de facto states can be most fundamentally characterised as exceptional polities in international relations.

    Showcasing how the statehood and sovereignty of de facto states is based in international political crises, this book concludes that these entities function as recurring disruptions of any supposed international political order. A Theory of De Facto States will therefore be of interest to researchers of secession, de facto statehood, and International Relations theory alike.

    Introduction: De Facto States as Exceptional Polities in International Relations

    On De Facto States

    De Facto States as Exceptional Polities

    Classical Realism and De Facto Statehood

    ‘Knowing’ De Facto States?



    1. Law, Discourse, Limbo: De Facto Statehood and Regularity

    De Facto States and International Law

    De Facto States and International Relations Discourse

    De Facto States ‘Stuck in Limbo’




    2. Classical Realism: De Facto Statehood and Exceptionality

    In Defence of Classical Realism

    Classical Realist De Facto Sovereignty

    The Exceptionality of De Facto States



    3. Somaliland: De Facto Sovereignty in an Exceptional Polity

    De Facto Statehood vs. De Jure Recognition

    Hybridity, Decentralisation, and De Facto Statehood

    State Crises

    State Ideals

    Somaliland as an Exceptional Polity



    4. The Democratic League of Kosovo: De Facto Sovereignty in a Parallel State?

    The Democratic League of Kosovo and its ‘Parallel State’

    The Parallel State ‘in Limbo’

    De Facto Sovereignty and the Parallel State




    5. Kosovo’s Future: De Jure Sovereignty or Exceptional Polity?

    Kosovo’s Exceptional Foundations

    Kosovo’s De Facto Statehood and International Law

    Kosovo’s Exceptional Maintenance

    Ever a De Facto State?



    Conclusion: Borges’s World Map

    An Epistemological ‘Double Move’

    An Ontological ‘Triple Move’

    Are De Facto States ‘States’?



    Lucas Knotter is Lecturer at the University of Bath, UK. He is an Associate Editor for 9DASHLINE. He specialises in themes of secession, state creation, and theories of international politics and security.