Kathrin Kollmeier: Stateless in a World of States. Locating a Key Political Concept of the 20th Century within the Ideas of Sovereignty, Human Rights and Belonging


By addressing statelessness in a historical perspective, this review article is dedicated to a global 20th century-phenomenon of European origin that first emerged in the aftermath of the First World War. Deprived of national citizenship, stateless people not only left their homes and territory, but also forfeited all legal bonds to their former country and state. The topic highlights an intersection of eminent political developments throughout the century - the dissolution of European Empires, (nation) state sovereignty and national politics of belonging as well as the rise of international norms and human rights. In order to trace perspectives for empirical historical research, this essay covers recent literature in different disciplines and fields of history: legal and social sciences, a critical history of human rights and population politics, migration and refugee movements, and research on nationality and citizenship. Moreover, the article discusses if and how a social history and experiences of elusive population groups and individuals can be grasped. It concludes with an outlook into political theory, where the legal notion of statelessness has been introduced as an analytical category.

The following titles were discussed i.a.:
Arendt, H.: Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft (49); Skran, C.: Refugees in Inter-War Europe (51); Hoffmann, S.-L.: Human Rights in the 20th Century (53); Hoffmann, S.-L.: Moralpolitik (53); Moyn, S.: The Last Utopia (53); Mazower, M.: No Enchanted Palace (54); Marrus, M.: The Unwanted (56); Noiriel, G.: Die Tyrannei des Nationalen (57); Cohen, G.: In War’s Wake (58); Jacobmeyer, W.: Vom Zwangsarbeiter zum „Heimatlosen Ausländer“ (58); Kévonian, D.: Réfugiés et diplomatie humanitaire (58); DeGenova, N./Peutz, N. (Hrsg.).: The Deportation Regime (59); Fahrmeir, A.: Citizenship (59); Gosewinkel, D.: Einbürgern und Ausschließen (59);  Gousseff, C.: L'Exile russe (60); Weil, P.: How to Be French (60);  Durand, R. (Hrsg.): Genève et la paix (61);  Berg, M./Mesner, M. (Hrsg.): After Fascism (62); Dewhurst Lewis, M.: The Boundaries of the Republic (64)

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