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Secessio Populi: Phase 2

Secessio Populi is moving into a new phase. I need to reassess my fundamental frameworks of analysis.

When I launched this blog in January 2021, I aimed to explore “break-away movements in the rich world.” In my head, I was thinking, “there’s a lot of alienated people out there who want to start new countries. Some of these live in rich countries. That’s kind of weird if you think about it.” So, out of a geeky curiosity on the topic, I set out to explore this niche within several overlapping niches.

Since then, I have learned much about this topic, what’s out there on it, and what I’m trying to present about it. I’ve gotten exhiralrated. I’ve gotten frustrated. I’ve gotten depressed. I’ve gotten intrigued. Mostly, I’ve learned a lot about the discursive spaces adjacent to my topic: separatism, nationalism, independence movements, civil wars, anti-colonial movements, de facto and unrecognized states, stateless nations, etc. Understanding the landscape better than when I started, I am better equipped to refine my focus.

Two questions stand at the center of this reorientation:

1. What do I mean by “break-away movement”?

2. What do I mean by “rich country”?

Let’s take a look at each of them in turn:

What do I mean by “break-away movement”?

Secessio Populi is fundamentally about aspirations toward independence. While I’m broadly interested in international politics and ideological struggles, what interests me in independence movements and nationalism(s) is a curiosity about the motivations of the people that drive them. I am fascinated by the frequent occurrence of alienation mingled with hope for something better that makes people want to split from established nations and build something new. I’m less fascinated by the geopolitics of states playing these movements as pawns in broader strategic efforts, except insofar as this influences these movements and the people within them. So, to that end, I’m going to carefully orient my focus toward movements that explicitly land on these elements. Specifically, I will be focussing on:

What do I mean by “rich country”?

Last year when I began SP, I borrowed a simple metric for assessing which states fit within my scope of researching movements in “the rich/developed world”: the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index. This made a quick, convenient, and readily understandable proxy for the wealthy world and rich countries. However, its flaws crept up pretty early in my exploration. For starters, it’s boring. Looking at the top quintile of HDI, one finds oneself staring at the United States, Western Europe, and a few other islands of international wealth and neglecting the rest of the world almost entirely. While a scope is merely a scope and says very little about the importance of things beyond it, there was a ton of activity outside of this framework that I was curious about or interested in that it just did not allow past its crude filter. Frustrated with this, I’ve been tinkering with a new metric for assessing “rich countries.” This new metric seeks to take into account several factors, including:

I won’t go deep into the mechanics of this here, but the results are worth looking at.

Here are the states and territories that I’ve been looking at under the original Secessio Populi “rich country” criteria since January 2021:

  • Australia 
  • Andorra 
  • Austria 
  • Belgium 
  • Canada 
  • Cyprus 
  • Czech Republic 
  • Denmark 
  • Estonia 
  • Finland
  • France 
  • Germany  
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong 
  • Iceland 
  • Ireland 
  • Israel 
  • Italy 
  • Japan 
  • Latvia 
  • Liechtenstein 
  • Lithuania 
  • Luxembourg 
  • Malta 
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway 
  • Poland 
  • Portugal
  • Singapore 
  • Slovenia 
  • South Korea 
  • Spain 
  • Sweden 
  • Switzerland 
  • United Arab Emirates 
  • United Kingdom 
  • United States 

Here are the states and territories that I will be looking at moving forward using the new metric criteria:

  • Argentina 
  • Australia 
  • Austria 
  • Belgium 
  • Brazil 
  • Canada 
  • China 
  • Denmark
  • Egypt 
  • France 
  • Germany 
  • Hong Kong 
  • India 
  • Indonesia 
  • Iran 
  • Ireland 
  • Israel 
  • Italy
  • Japan 
  • Malaysia 
  • Mexico 
  • Netherlands 
  • Nigeria 
  • Norway 
  • Philippines
  • Poland 
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia 
  • Singapore 
  • South Africa 
  • South Korea 
  • Spain 
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland 
  • Taiwan 
  • Thailand 
  • Turkey 
  • UAE
  • United Kingdom 
  • United States 
  • Vietnam 

For added context, here are the places that are staying on my list

  • Australia 
  • Austria 
  • Belgium 
  • Canada 
  • Denmark
  • France 
  • Germany 
  • Hong Kong 
  • Ireland 
  • Israel 
  • Italy
  • Japan 
  • Netherlands 
  • Norway 
  • Poland 
  • Singapore 
  • South Korea 
  • Spain 
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland 
  • UAE
  • United Kingdom 
  • United States 

Here’s who’s leaving:

  • Andorra
  • Cyprus (I’m pretty sad about this one)
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • New Zealand
  • Portugal
  • Slovenia

Here are the new additions to my research scope:

  • Argentina 
  • Brazil 
  • China 
  • Egypt 
  • India 
  • Indonesia 
  • Iran 
  • Malaysia 
  • Mexico 
  • Nigeria 
  • Philippines
  • Russia 
  • Saudi Arabia 
  • South Africa 
  • Taiwan 
  • Thailand 
  • Turkey 
  • Vietnam 

As you can see, this list is much less Eurocentric and much more diverse in terms of where it’s looking. In the original list, for example, there were no African countries. Now there are three. Outside of the Caribean, Latin America was entirely absent from my previous system. Now Argentina and Mexico are included. In addition, big regional power players like Brazil, Russia, China, India, Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia are also now included.

In general, I’m much happier with this list. I hope that my work focusing on it will also prove to be enjoyable for you.

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