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The Fourth World is either (i) sub-populations socially excluded from global society, or (ii) nomadic, pastoral, and hunter-gatherer peoples living beyond the modern industrial norm.[1] Since publication of The Fourth World: An Indian Reality (1974), by George Manuel, Chief of the National Indian Brotherhood and Assembly of First Nations, the academic term Fourth World is synonymous with stateless, poor, and marginal nations.[2] The term originated with a remark by Mbuto Milando, first secretary of the Tanzanian High Commission, that "When Native peoples come into their own, on the basis of their own cultures and traditions, that will be the Fourth World,"[3] in conversation with Manuel.[4] Since 1979, think tanks such as the Center for World Indigenous Studies have used the term in defining the relationships between ancient, tribal, and pre-industrial nations and modern industrialised nation-states.[5] With the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, communications and organizing amongst Fourth World peoples have accelerated in the form of international treaties between aboriginal nations for the purposes of trade, travel, and security.[6]

Etymologically, Fourth World follows the First World, Second World, and Third World hierarchy of nation-state status; however, unlike the former categories, Fourth World denotes nations without a sovereign state, emphasising the non-recognition and exclusion of ethnically- and religiously-defined peoples from the politico-economic world system, e.g. the Romani people worldwide, the Basque, Sami, pre-First World War Ashkenazi Jews in the Pale of Settlement, the Palestinians, the Assyrians, and the Kurds in the Middle East, the indigenous peoples of the Americas and First Nations groups throughout North, Central and South America, and indigenous Africans and Asians. Spanish sociologist Manuel Castells of the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication has made extensive use of the term fourth world in the International Journal of Communication.


See also


  1. ^ "International day of the world's indigenous people". Asian Center for the Progress of Peoples. 
  2. ^ Griggs, Richard. "The breakdown of states". Center for World Indigenous Studies. 
  3. ^ Hall, Tony (2003). The American Empire and the Fourth World: The bowl with one spoon. McGill-Queen's native and northern series, 34.. Montreal; Ithaca: McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 238. ISBN 0773530061 9780773530065 0773523324 9780773523326. 
  4. ^ McFarlane, Peter (1993). Brotherhood to nationhood: George Manuel and the making of the modern Indian movement. Toronto: Between the Lines. p. 160. ISBN 0921284675 : 9780921284673 0921284667 : 9780921284666. 
  5. ^ Ryser, Rudolph C. (September 1993). "Toward the coexistence of nations and states". Center for World Indigenous Studies. 
  6. ^ Cloud, Redwing (10 August 2007). "United League of Indigenous Nations formed". Indian Country Today. 

Further reading

  • Castells, Manuel (1998, second edition, 2000). End of Millenium, The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture Vol. III. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. ISBN 978-0631221395. 

External links



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



After First World, Second World, and Third World.

Proper noun

Fourth World


Fourth World

Wikipedia has an article on:


  1. Collectively, peoples living nomadic, pastoral, hunter-gatherer or other ways of life outside the modern industrial norm.


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