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Book: Key Categories in the Study of Religion

Chapter: 1. Paper Terrorism: Religion, Paperwork, and the Contestation of State Power in the “Sovereign Citizen” Movement

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.39441


This chapter explores some of the religious problems associated with the “sovereign citizen” movement in the United States. By focusing on “paper terrorism”—the extralegal bureaucratic paperwork associated with the sovereign citizenship movement—this chapter challenges conventional attempts in religious studies to frame political resistance movements such as the sovereign citizen movement in terms of a unique, irreducible religious worldview. Instead, it emphasizes how some religiously inspired resistance movements can be understood as by-products of state and corporate activities rather than autonomous manifestations of some deeper human search for religious or spiritual meaning.

Chapter Contributors

  • Michael McVicar ( - mcvicar2) 'Florida State University'