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Is the Islamic State a Nation-State?

Is Islamic State a Nation-State?
The textbook discusses the Islamic State “caliphate” (ISIS) as a challenge to the world-system (pp 139-140). It says that caliphates see themselves as the sole source of legitimacy and have no reciprocal sovereign relations with states. “Thus war-making by ISIS is not about making territorial claims” (p 139). The authors’ analysis is incorrect in several ways but your job is to ascertain to what extent the Islamic State is a Nation-State. In other words, can you make the case that the Islamic State is more like a state and has a population more like a nation, in some ways, based on the sources provided below.

You might want to draw from any or all of these concepts related to the nation-state:

basic functions of a state and public goods (p 131),
topology of states (contiguity vs non-contiguity) (p 131),
law state and external relations, territory and sovereignty (pp 134-5),
security and opportunity provided by territorial state (p135-6)
basis of territorial claims (p138)
lecture explanation about legal requirements for statehood
doctrine of nationalism (p 177-179)
double Janus of nation (p 182-5)
varieties of nationalism (p 185-8)
nation against state (p 190)
renegotiated nation (p194-199)
gendered nation (p 199-201)
citizenship and rights (p 207)
lecture explanations of spatial identity and nation(alism)
This assignment is meant to completed individually using any notes or materials you choose. I have provided a basic set of readings (below) that should be sufficient to answer the question.

You may choose to include additional material but you should use the material provided at a minimum. Students who locate and include reliable new material on the Islamic State's territorial and national characteristics may receive a boost to their score.


Al-Tamimi. 2015. The Archivist: 26 Unseen Islamic State Administrative Documents: Overview, Translation & Analysis. Jihadology. (Links to an external site.)

Faucon and Al Omran. 2017. Islamic State Steps Up Oil and Gas Sales to Assad Regime. Wall Street Journal. Jan. 19. [pdf version ]

Islamic State. n.d. Structure of the Khalifa (Islamic State). 13 minutes. Available under "Media Gallery."

OPTIONAL/SKIM: Graeme Wood. 2015. What ISIS Really Wants. The Atlantic. March. [pdf version ] [online version (Links to an external site.)]

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