Understanding Statelessness offers a comprehensive, in-depth examination of statelessness. The volume presents the theoretical, legal and political concept of statelessness through the work of leading critical thinkers in this area. They offer a critique of the existing framework through detailed and theoretically-based scrutiny of challenging contexts of statelessness in the real world and suggest ways forward.

The volume is divided into three parts. The first, ‘Defining Statelessness’, features chapters exploring conceptual issues in the definition of statelessness. The second, ‘Living Statelessness’, uses case studies of statelessness contexts from States across global regions to explore the diversity of contemporary lived realities of statelessness and to interrogate standard theoretical presentations. ‘Theorising Statelessness’, the final part, approaches the theorisation of statelessness from a variety of theoretical perspectives, building upon the earlier sections. All the chapters come together to suggest a rethinking of how we approach statelessness. They raise questions and seek answers with a view to contributing to the development of a theoretical approach which can support more just policy development.

Throughout the volume, readers are encouraged to connect theoretical concepts, real-world accounts and challenging analyses. The result is a rich and cohesive volume which acts as both a state-of-the-art statement on statelessness research and a call to action for future work in the field. It will be of great interest to graduates and scholars of political theory, human rights, law and international development, as well as those looking for new approaches to thinking about statelessness.

chapter 1|14 pages


Providing a framework for understanding statelessness

part I|70 pages

Defining statelessness

chapter 2|18 pages

Worthy of rights

Statelessness as a cause and symptom of marginalisation

chapter 3|18 pages

Contexts of statelessness

The concepts ‘statelessness in situ’ and ‘statelessness in the migratory context’

chapter 5|15 pages

The state and the stateless

The legacy of Hannah Arendt reconsidered

part II|104 pages

Living statelessness

part III|79 pages

Theorising statelessness

chapter 12|19 pages

Why end statelessness?

chapter 13|17 pages

Realising the rights of stateless persons

The doctrine of fiduciary duty and the role of municipal government

chapter 14|14 pages

The right to family

Protecting stateless children 1