Posted by: hobbesonafob | May 11, 2009

Organizations that exercise Tillian Stateness: CCNAs

Organizations that demonstrate Tillian stateness (warmaking, statemaking, resource extraction, and protection) have been categorized in this blog as coercive nonstate actors (CNAs). Because CNAs exhibit state-building attributes, there are two perspectives an existing state can have on CNAs: 1) if a state is able to coordinate its interests with a CNA’s interests, the CNA can be used by the state; 2) if the interests of the state do not coincide with the interests of the CNA or vice versa, and one of them is able to act against the other in hopes of obtaining a benefit, the CNA becomes a state-breaking entity. When a CNA engages in the destruction or undermining of the state, the CNA becomes a  “contentious and coercive nonstate actor” (CCNA). This dynamic between the state and the CCNA is best described by Tilly’s notion of “claims” and “contentious politics”:

The word ‘claims’ resonates across my analysis of contention. It refers to interactions in which one party acts (however successfully or ineffectually) to elicit responses from another party. Typical claim-making verbs include request, propose, command, beseech, beg, implore, petition, solicit, attack, bribe, entice, require, expel, chase, massacre, and confront. Contentious politics, then, refers to collective making of claims on others, which, if realized, would affect those others’ interests, when at least one of the parties (including third parties) is a government (Tilly, 57).

If we accept the state and the CCNA as claim-making agents, then Tilly’s dynamic can be applied to the interactions between the state and the CCNA. 

Works Cited

Charles Tilly, “Armed Force, Regimes, and Contention in Europe since 1650,” in Irregular Armed Forces and Their Role in Politics and State Formation, ed. Diane E. Davis and Anthony W. Pereira (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 57.



  1. […] “state” and conclude that the state is essentially indistinguishable from a CNA or CCNA (See here for a primer). The only difference between the state and a CCNA is that the state receives […]

  2. […] never imagined a time when there would be social groups (Contentious and Coercive Non-state actors: CCNAs) that could counter the state’s power by engaging in the Tillian characteristics of […]

  3. […] the creation of another group that will be able to engage in coercion — essentially another CCNA. This coercion may provide a point of contention for the Afghan government in the future, although […]

  4. […] as used to weaken the traditional tribal structures in these territories and, in turn, empower CCNAs in the region. In 2006 alone, 120 tribal elders were assassinated by militants in the Federally […]

  5. […] may perceive resource extraction by the state or  contentious and coercive nonstate actors (CCNAs)? ALL of the Tillian attributes of “stateness” can be viewed within the purview of […]

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