Defining states: Reconsiderations and recommendations

Stuart A. Bremer, Faten Ghosn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This article focuses on the definition of states-an issue that has been a central concern for the Correlates of War Project in particular and international relations in general. The paper argues that we need to move away from the crude dichotomous conceptualization of state system membership, which is far too simple and rigid, to the conceptualization of state membership as a continuous attribute. Two underlying dimensions of stateness are suggested. The first refers to the internal organization of the geopolitical units (GPUs) and focuses on the size, autonomy and cohesion (SAC Index) of the GPU, while the second reflects the way in which a GPU relates to other GPUs and concentrates on interdependence, interaction and recognition (IIR Index). Conceptualizing "stateness" in this way represents a richer and more sophisticated theoretical approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-41
Number of pages21
JournalConflict Management and Peace Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations


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