Democratic confederalism and societal multiplicity: a sympathetic critique of Abdullah Öcalan’s State theory

Matin, Kamran (2019) Democratic confederalism and societal multiplicity: a sympathetic critique of Abdullah Öcalan’s State theory. Geopolitics. pp. 1-20. ISSN 1465-0045

This is the latest version of this item.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Restricted to SRO admin only
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB)
[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Restricted to SRO admin only until 16 May 2021.

Download (256kB)

Abstract

The Kurdish-led project of democratic confederalism in Rojava (north and north-east Syria) has emerged as an unprecedented experience in eco-feminist and anti-capitalist direct democracy with global significance and regional ramifications. There is however virtually no critical engagement with the project’s intellectual foundations in the works of Abdullah Öcalan. This paper seeks to address this gap through a sympathetic critique of Öcalan’s historical sociology of the formation and dissolution of the state. It argues that there is a theoretical tension in Öcalan’s argument. His account of the originary rise of the Sumerian state is ‘internalist’ while his analysis of subsequent state-formation processes is ‘interactive’, which highlights the crucial role of external factors and hence implicitly the decisive significance of the condition of ‘societal multiplicity’. The paper then draws on Kojin Karatani’s ‘modes of exchange’ based world history to argue that Sumerian state-formation was also fundamentally interactive occurring within and through societal multiplicity. It therefore demonstrates the need for the incorporation of societal multiplicity in the conceptualisation of democratic confederalism and the analyses of its prospects as a non-statist political community. In so doing, the paper also contributes to critical geopolitics and anarchist international theory through underlining the social history of the rise of the state and the international nature of its dissolution.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Democratic Confederalism, Kurd, Multiplicity, Öcalan, Rojava, State
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Development
School of Global Studies > International Relations
Research Centres and Groups: Centre for Advanced International Theory
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HS Societies
J Political Science
J Political Science > JC Political theory. The state. Theories of the state
J Political Science > JC Political theory. The state. Theories of the state > JC051 Ancient state
J Political Science > JC Political theory. The state. Theories of the state > JC319 Political geography
J Political Science > JZ International relations
J Political Science > JZ International relations > JZ1305 Scope of international relations. Political theory. Diplomacy > JZ1464 Scope of international relations with regard to countries, territories, regions, etc. > JZ1669 Asia > JZ1670 Middle East. Southwest Asia
J Political Science > JZ International relations > JZ3674 State territory and its parts
Depositing User: Kamran Matin
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2020 08:16
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2020 09:45
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/89349

Available Versions of this Item

  • Unset (deposited Unset)
    • Democratic confederalism and societal multiplicity: a sympathetic critique of Abdullah Öcalan’s State theory. (deposited 15 Jan 2020 08:16) [Currently Displayed]

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update