Sovereignty's Entailments: First Nation State Formation in the Yukon

By Paul Nadasdy

© 2017

In recent decades, indigenous peoples in the Yukon have signed land claim and self-government agreements that spell out the nature of government-to-government relations and grant individual First Nations significant, albeit limited, powers of governance over their peoples, lands, and resources. Those agreements, however, are predicated on the assumption that if First Nations are to qualify as governments at all, they must be fundamentally state-like, and they frame First Nation powers in the culturally contingent idiom of sovereignty.

Based on over five years of ethnographic research [carried out] in the southwest Yukon, Sovereignty’s Entailments is a close ethnographic analysis of everyday practices of state formation in a society whose members do not take for granted the cultural entailments of sovereignty. This approach enables Nadasdy to illustrate the full scope and magnitude of the "cultural revolution" that is state formation and expose the culturally specific assumptions about space, time, and sociality that lie at the heart of sovereign politics.

Nadasdy’s timely and insightful work illuminates how the process of state formation is transforming Yukon Indian people’s relationships with one another, animals, and the land.

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Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 400 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

Based on over five years of ethnographic research [carried out] in the southwest Yukon, Sovereignty’s Entailments is a close ethnographic analysis of everyday practices of state formation in a society whose members do not take for granted the cultural entailments of sovereignty.

Sovereignty's Entailments: First Nation State Formation in the Yukon

By Paul Nadasdy

© 2017

In recent decades, indigenous peoples in the Yukon have signed land claim and self-government agreements that spell out the nature of government-to-government relations and grant individual First Nations significant, albeit limited, powers of governance over their peoples, lands, and resources. Those agreements, however, are predicated on the assumption that if First Nations are to qualify as governments at all, they must be fundamentally state-like, and they frame First Nation powers in the culturally contingent idiom of sovereignty.

Based on over five years of ethnographic research [carried out] in the southwest Yukon, Sovereignty’s Entailments is a close ethnographic analysis of everyday practices of state formation in a society whose members do not take for granted the cultural entailments of sovereignty. This approach enables Nadasdy to illustrate the full scope and magnitude of the "cultural revolution" that is state formation and expose the culturally specific assumptions about space, time, and sociality that lie at the heart of sovereign politics.

Nadasdy’s timely and insightful work illuminates how the process of state formation is transforming Yukon Indian people’s relationships with one another, animals, and the land.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 400 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    "Sovereignty’s Entailments is quite simply a superlative work of scholarly analysis. Paul Nadasdy combines a comprehensive and perceptive reading of a wide range of social, cultural, anthropological, and political theorists – both contemporary and classic – with a remarkably detailed and insightful ethnographic analysis of the Kluane First Nation. The book is an original and unconventional interpretation of recent political/constitutional developments affecting Yukon First Nations that is theoretically sophisticated and empirically convincing. This book will undoubtedly change the way scholars, bureaucrats, and indeed Indigenous people themselves think about comprehensive land claims and self-government in the Canadian North and elsewhere."


    Graham White, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto

    "Paul Nadasdy challenges foundational premises of ‘sovereignty’ that successive Canadian governments have used to frame land claims agreements with First Nations. Based on extensive ethnographic research in the Yukon Territory, and close engagement with social, cultural and political theory, this book will be of broad interest to social scientists, legal experts and especially First Nation scholars and activists engaged in these struggles. That these ideas may be controversial throughout Canada in no way diminishes the importance of the author’s argument."


    Julie Cruikshank, author of Do Glaciers Listen?
  • Author Information

    Paul Nadasdy is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at Cornell University.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction: First Nation State Formation

    1. Sovereignty

    2. Territory

    3. Citizenship

    4. Nation

    5. Time

    Conclusion: Against Sovereignty