Accepted paper:

Facing statelessness in chiefdoms and states


Petr Skalník (University of Hradec Králové)

Paper short abstract:

Statelessness was normal but now becomes a stigma. Can stateless people win the battle for their recognition as equal members of centralized polities?

Paper long abstract:

Traditionally stateless societies have been by far most common during the long history of humankind. Used to their independence they fiercely opposed centralization processes which reached them either endogenously from chiefdoms or early states or through conquest by mature states from other continents. The tactics of resistance changed recently. The stateless people now embrace the idea of chiefdom or state as their best option. They are not satisfied by the fact that they are citizens of modern states by default. They want also their traditional chiefdomhood or statehood. But ethnic differences take on political guise and statelessness continues to be ascribed to them by chiefdoms and states. Even the modern state treats them as "tribals" or "chiefless" indefinitely. Statelessness is closely connected with powerlessness. Is there a way out of this situation?

panel P087
Situating statelessness: anthropological perspectives (WCAA/Commission on Theretical Anthropology panel)