De Facto State Identity and International Legitimation  book cover
1st Edition

De Facto State Identity and International Legitimation

ISBN 9781032014142
Published December 21, 2021 by Routledge
198 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Examining the state identity formation and international legitimation of de facto states, this book provides a deeper understanding of the relationship between de facto states, the international state system and international society.

The book integrates International Relations theories to construct a framework of normative standing for de facto states, to better understand the social system they inhabit and the stasis in their relationship with international society, demonstrated through detailed case study analysis. Klich appraises the recognition narrative of de facto states in order to analyse their state identities, and constructs a framework for normative standing in an original synthesis of English School, constructivism and legitimacy scholarship. The explanatory utility of that framework is then applied and analysed through detailed fieldwork conducted across an original set of case studies ― Nagorno Karabakh, Somaliland, and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq ― that have varying degrees of international engagement and parent state relationships.

It will be of interest to scholars and students of International Relations, International Relations theory, Peace and Conflict studies, Comparative Politics, as well as Middle Eastern studies, East African studies, and Post-Soviet studies.

Table of Contents


1. De Facto States and the International System

2. International Legitimacy and the Normative Standing of De Facto States

3. The Nagorno Karabakh Republic

4. The Republic of Somaliland

5. The Kurdistan Region of Iraq


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Sebastian Klich holds a PhD in Political Science and International Relations from the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. He is an alumni and research affiliate of the ANU’s Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, specialising in de facto states, International Relations theory and the politics of the Middle East. Sebastian also works as a political and corporate strategy consultant in the not-for-profit and private sectors.


"Perhaps the theoretically-richest and conceptually-clearest examination of de facto states yet written. Klich’s book is also based on extensive fieldwork in his novel and interesting case study selection of Iraqi Kurdistan, Nagorno-Karabakh and Somaliland. A fresh, original and insightful contribution to de facto state studies."

Scott Pegg, Department of Political Science, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, USA; and author of International Society and the De Facto State.


"Our understanding of the place of de facto states in the international system is usually framed in terms of international law and high politics. In this book, Klich goes beyond this. He argues that there are fundamental normative issues at play. Informed by three excellent case studies, this is a valuable and thought-provoking addition to the literature on de facto states." 

James Ker-Lindsay, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.