Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Non-State nations in international relations: The Kurdish question revisited

Wikner, Jess (2018) Non-State nations in international relations: The Kurdish question revisited. Other thesis, Murdoch University.

PDF - Whole Thesis
Download (509kB) | Preview


This thesis explores the fundamental research puzzle of why non-state nations struggle to achieve independent sovereign statehood through secession. It explores why non-state nations like the Kurds desire sovereign statehood, and why they fail to achieve it.

This thesis argues two main points. Firstly, non-state nations such as the Kurds seek sovereign statehood because of two main reasons: the essence of nationhood and national self-determination is sovereign statehood; and that non-state nations are usually treated unfairly and unjustly by their host state and thus develop a strong moral case for secession and sovereign statehood.

Secondly, non-state nations like the Kurds fail to achieve sovereign statehood mainly because of key endogenous and exogenous factors. The endogenous factors comprise internal divisions which result in failure to achieve a unified secessionist challenge, due to differences in factions which result in divergent objectives and perspectives, and the high chances of regime co-optation of dissident factions. Exogenous factors include the international normative regime which is unsupportive of secession, hence non-state nations like the Kurds do not receive support from the UN and other global bodies in their quest for sovereign statehood; and that non-state nations also seldom receive the backing from Major Powers, both democratic and non-democratic, in their efforts to secede from their host state and set up their own sovereign state.

This thesis explores secession theory and the problem of non-state nations in international relations, Kurdish history, nationhood and desire for Kurdistan, the Kurdish struggles for an independent Kurdistan in recent history and concludes that whilst the current conflict in the Middle East provides the Kurds with yet another ‘window’ of opportunity, the historical exogenous and endogenous factors remain extant.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Management and Governance
Notes: Research Masters with Training
Supervisor(s): Ganguly, Rajat and Makinda, Samuel
Item Control Page Item Control Page


Downloads per month over past year