A State Without Territory?

  • Veronika BílkováEmail author
Part of the Netherlands Yearbook of International Law book series (NYIL, volume 47)


The chapter considers whether a State can exist without territory. It argues that if the functional theory of territory is accepted, then the concept of a deterritorialized State may indeed be conceivable. The chapter however cautions against embracing this concept hastily, drawing attention to four caveats. First, the functional theory requires solid justification that is so far lacking. It is not so evident that territory is nothing more than a special tool people use and would be ready to abandon. Secondly, even if the theory is accepted, doubts arise as to whether all the traditional functions of territory can, in the current state of affairs, be assumed by a substitute and what this substitute would be. Thirdly, there are no historical ‘precedents’ of deterritorialized States to demonstrate the viability of the concept. Fourthly, other options are available to respond to the problems that the concept of deterritorialized State is supposed to resolve, especially the problem of disappearing States. As long as the concept remains insufficiently developed, these other options may seem preferable.


Deterritorialization Disappearing States Montevideo Definition Territory State 


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Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser Press and the authors 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LawCharles UniversityPragueCzech Republic

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