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Pseudostate is a term put forward by the author and journalist Adam Hochschild to refer to political states or regions where power rests with a government or organisation either outside the country or in some way unaccountable - for example, a local militia. In 2004, Hochschild suggested this term as a way of describing the situation of countries which in colonial times might have been referred to as protectorates, colonies or sphere of influence.[1]

Hochschild named Iraq, the Palestinian Authority, Bosnia and Congo-Kinshasa as examples of current pseudostates, and argued that their numbers are on the increase; he also pointed to previous entities such as the Soviet republics as further examples of pseudostates - those with the appearance of sovereignty and even some degree of international recognition, but ultimately controlled from further afield. A further hallmark of pseudostates is political instability, the article continues.

Hochschild first used the term in an article published on the left wing Zmag website, with particular reference to the situation of Iraq following the 2003 invasion and ongoing conflict. The word has subsequently spread to the work of other commentators, including in print.[2]


  1. 'A Pseudostate Is Born'. 27th June 2004.
  2. For example, Edwards and Cromwell (2006: 67-68) reference Hochschild 's use of 'pseudostate' in discussing the UK media's reporting of the Iraq War.

See also