State creation and the concept of statehood in international law

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This chapter proposes to conceive of statehood as a legal status rooted in customary international law and argues that this has two consequences. First, customary international law contains a norm specifying that entities that meet the criteria of effectiveness are states with all the rights and duties this status entails. Second, the making of customary international law also serves as a blueprint for the creation of statehood as a legal status in individual cases. To develop the theoretical tools necessary for a successful conceptualisation of statehood, it proceeds as follows. Section 2 addresses the criteria stemming from the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States. It explores their connection to theories of legal personhood as well as their roots in colonialism to show that they are neither as relevant nor as helpful as is often argued. Section 3 turns to conceptual ramifications of the Montevideo criteria's shortcomings as well as unsuccessful remedies for these problems. Each of them illustrates aspects of what a conceptualisation of statehood should look like and thus contributes to our endeavour. Finally, we sketch our proposed theory based on the insights gained along the way.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Secession
EditorsJure Vidmar, Sarah McGibbon
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781788971751
ISBN (Print)9781788971744
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2022

Publication series

SeriesResearch Handbooks in International Law series


  • statehood
  • Montevideo convention
  • customary international law
  • effectiveness


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