Standard of civilization, nomadism and territoriality in nineteenth-century international society

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


In this chapter, the encounter between the Russian Empire and the nomads of the Eurasian steppe in the nineteenth century is analyzed using the theoretical framework of the standard of civilization. The creation of the Westphalian state-model in Europe in the seventeenth century, linked to the later emergence of the notion of the standard of civilization led to the ‘othering’ of the nomads of the Eurasian steppe as barbarians, as a threat to the borders of civilized Europe. The chapter presents also an argument to define ‘territoriality’ as not only an institution of international society of the time but also as a distinctive quality and requirement for being considered ‘civilized’. In this analytical framework, the nomads become the ‘other’, the ‘alien’, the ‘menace’, onto which projections of rationality and modernity were cast in order to prevent threats to Russia’s European and civilized identity. The chapter sheds light on the encounter between ‘fixed’ and ‘mobile’ units in the course of expansion of international society; contextualizes the role played by nomadic tribes in resisting the application of Westphalian spatial categories in the Eurasian space; and scrutinizes what the role of nomads was in constructing a European, civilized identity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNomad-State Relationships in International Relations
Subtitle of host publicationBefore and After Borders
EditorsJamie Levin
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)9783030280536
ISBN (Print)9783030280529
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event12th Pan-European Conference on International Relations: "A New Hope: Back to the Future of International Relations" - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 12 Sept 201815 Sept 2018


Conference12th Pan-European Conference on International Relations
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Standard of civilization, nomadism and territoriality in nineteenth-century international society'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this