The Islamic “State”: sovereignty, territoriality and governance

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In this paper, four elements of statehood will be used to assess the Islamic State’s (IS’s) June 2014 claim of sovereignty, thereby raising important questions over its classification as a “non” state armed actor. As such, it seeks to contribute to a small, but growing, literature which attempts to look beyond IS’s virulent bellicosity and to consider the political institutions it established on their own terms—not as simply an extension of its prodigious messianic and eschatological diatribe or as an interstitial response to the failures of the Asad and Maliki regimes. In other words, rather than adding to the voluminous literature on the extent to which IS might be regarded an Islamic State, this paper considers to what degree it might have constituted an Islamic State.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Politics
Early online date21 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2021


  • Iraq
  • Non-state armed actors
  • Syria

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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