On the Issue of Classification of Non-State Actors in the Middle East

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2020-64-6-104-113

V. Naumkin (director@ivran.ru),
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation;
V. Kuznetsov (vasiakuznets@yandex.ru),
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation


Agreeing with researchers who consider the expansion of non-state actors’ influence in world politics a common widespread tendency, the authors investigate existing approaches to NSA categorization and underline certain characteristics of these approaches. Firstly, non-state actors are researched apophatically, negatively, as structures characterized solely as not being actual states and governments. Secondly, NSA are defined as bodies acting only in the international context. Last but not least, they must have formalized structures and clearly set goals. The authors conclude that existing categorizations generally fail to represent the empirical reality that researchers of Middle Eastern issues see regularly. The authors use P. Taylor’s renowned method to create their own typology, including new criteria, such as: functional correlation between non-state actors and states, allowing to distinguish between suprastate, alterstate and substate actors; actors’ orientation towards state, allowing to divide them into statecentric and geocentric ones; their goals, either universal or specific; administration systems that may have different grades of formalization and centralization. Meanwhile, such criteria are viewed as practical actions and the level of violence used by nonstate actors – as superficial. Researching each parameter, the authors give examples of various NSA functioning in the Middle East. The article is concluded by a categorizing table which includes specific examples of Middle Eastern non-state actors.


non-state actors, Middle East, Islamism, regional relations in the Middle East


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For citation:
Naumkin V., Kuznetsov V. On the Issue of Classification of Non-State Actors in the Middle East. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2020, vol. 64, No 6, pp. 104-113. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2020-64-6-104-113

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