David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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OUP Oxford (2003)
In a world where the traditional territorial organisation of the state is coming under increasing challenge from pressures from above (globalisation) and from below (struggles for federalisation and secession), the theoretical and practical questions concerning secessionist struggles become ever more acute. It is these questions that this volume addresses. Why do some struggles for autonomy take acute forms, above all violent struggles for secession (for example, Chechnya), while others remain within the framework of constitutional politics (for example, Tatarstan and Quebec)? Under what conditions does a distinct political community have the right to secede from another, and how should this process be managed? Our ten case studies seek to answer these questions on the basis of the application of just war theory to the normative and practical issues concerning the secession struggles in these regions. The Introduction sets out the theoretical issues, and then each case study provides a rich mix of theoretical and empirical material, and some of the broader issues are then drawn together in the concluding chapter. The book focuses on four key themes that are central to the ethics of secession. The first examines normative issues, in particular the tension between 'choice' theories and those based on remedial 'just cause' arguments. The second discusses the problem of violence in secessionist struggles and the ensuing relationship between just war theory and the ethics of secession. The third problem is the relationship between nationhood and citizenship, and in particular the problem of applying what has now become a conventional distinction between ethnic and civic representations of the political community. Finally, the contentious issue of sovereignty and the way that it frames debates about self-determination. With each of these themes, the application of general moral principles to particular historical contexts opens up new avenues of research. This book is essential reading for those who wish to understand both the theoretical and practical issues concerning secession struggles in the world today.
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