Remedial Theories of Secession and Territorial Justification

Journal of Social Philosophy 44 (1):74-94 (2013)

Amandine Catala
Université du Québec à Montreal
Because secession centrally involves taking away a territory, a successful normative theory of secession must give a credible account of when a seceding group has a valid territorial claim. One of the most prominent types of normative theory of secession is remedial theories of secession. I argue that while remedial theories address the question of territorial justification, they fail to do so adequately, because their account is both arbitrary and internally inconsistent. I argue that addressing the question of territorial justification non-arbitrarily and consistently requires adopting a broader and morally more plausible conception of justice than that on which remedial theories explicitly rely; and I show that this broader conception of justice is implicit in remedial theories’ account of territorial justification. Recognizing this, however, has significant implications for remedial theories, as it considerably broadens the scope of valid territorial claims, and hence of valid secessionist claims.
Keywords secession  territorial justification  self-determination  justice  just-cause theories  remedial theories
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DOI 10.1111/josp.12011
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