Fourth World is a term which is used to denote several completely different things.
- Fourth World is used to refer to ethnic and minority groups who are not represented by a nation-state — see Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization.
- In the mythology of the Hopi, the current world is the Fourth World, and the coming age is the Fifth World.
The term Fourth World also refers to a "lost" world or sub-population subjected to social exclusion in global society. Sociologist Manuel Castells originally coined the term.
Fourth World follows the progression First World, Second World and Third World, which forms a distinct hierarchy of categories for nation-state status. However, unlike these categories Fourth World denotes nations without states. This sense emphasizes the non-recognition or exclusion of often ethnically or religiously defined groups from the political and economic world system. Examples of Fourth World nations include the Roma worldwide, pre-WWI Ashkenazi in the region of the Pale of Settlement, Kurds and Palestinians in the Middle East, and many Native American/First Nations groups throughout the Americas.
In common speech among certain groups, the term Fourth World also refers to various independence or secessionist movements, to medium- to large-sized nations without fully-recognised states. While these nations need to have substantial territory compared to micronations, they need not be ancient, or part of any established international governmental organisations.
- HMRD Cesidio Tallini. (2009). The Fifth World: Micronationalism on Steroids. CreateSpace. ISBN 1448663539
- Fourth World Journal
- Fourth World Center for the Study of Indigenous Law and Politics at University of Colorado at Denver
- Fourth World: Nations without a State - Nadesan Satyendra