Everyday Life in Unrecognized States


Unrecognized states are bodies that perform government functions, while remaining unrecognized and “illegal” in the international arena.  This project explores what it means to live without international recognition, or what it means to be a citizen of a state that others claim does not exist. Rebecca Bryant has explored this subject for more than a decade, primarily through research in north Cyprus but also with comparative research in Abkhazia.
Her research has focused on:

  1. statebuilding in the absence of recognition, and the sorts of politics that emerge from living in what she calls an aporetic state;
  2. the political desires of unrecognized subjects for what she calls sovereign agency;
  3. the relationship of such de facto entities to their “patrons,” or those larger states that support them; and
  4. the effects of globalization on de facto states.

Key publications

Bryant, Rebecca and Mete Hatay. 2020. Sovereignty Suspended: Building the So-Called State. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Bryant, Rebecca and Madeleine Reeves (eds.). 2021. The Everyday Lives of Sovereignty: Political Desires Beyond the State. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press (forthcoming June 2021).

Bryant, Rebecca. 2021. “Sovereignty in Drag: On Fakes, Foreclosure, and Unbecoming States.” Cultural Anthropology, forthcoming February.

Unrecognized States