Assessing violent nonstate actorness in global politics: a framework for analysis
Cambridge Review of International Affairs
424 - 444
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This article begins with the assumption that the most important shift that is taking place in contemporary global politics is the shift in polity power from the predominance of the state to the rising importance of nonstate actors. It goes on to argue that disciplinary understandings of this shift and, in particular, the nature of the actors driving it, remain dispersed. This article aims, therefore, to provide a framework for evaluating the global political potential—or actorness—of one type of nonstate actor, the violent nonstate actor, positing it as that most overtly challenging states' authority, and therefore with the potential to play a uniquely stimulating role in the shifting of power. Based on three principles of autonomy, representation and influence, the framework provides broad criteria for understanding violent nonstate actors, as well as a means for evaluating violent nonstate actorness and for exploring its potential in global politics.