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Freedom and Political Status: A Republican Theory and Critique of the Politics of Self-Determination

Fusco, Adam (2016) Freedom and Political Status: A Republican Theory and Critique of the Politics of Self-Determination. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

In contemporary politics many groups make claims for self-determination. Some of these claims are recognised by existing political authorities or the international community, whilst others are denied. Often this is regardless of the fact that the reasons why groups make claims for self-determination differ from group to group. This thesis assesses whether groups who make claims for self-determination should have their claims recognised or denied and for what reasons this should be the case. This thesis, therefore, provides an answer to the question ‘which groups have justified claims for self-determination?’ My thesis is that groups who are dominated have justified claims for this right. This thesis is in two parts: the first is a critical examination of three existing theories of self-determination, and the second is a defence of a constructive alternative to these theories – it details a republican theory of self-determination. In part one I assess three theories in the existing literature on self-determination: the choice-based, nationalist, and just-cause theories of self-determination. I argue that none of these theories provides a framework that is satisfying enough to assess which claims for self-determination should be taken as justified in political practice. I argue that the ideas of the freedom to choose which political authority one should be subject to, nationhood, and the violation of human or social rights – which respectively reflect the justificatory basis of each of the existing theories – do not provide a satisfying enough framework to assess which claims for self-determination should be justified in political practice. In part two I provide an alternative to the existing theories and argue that republican political theory provides a more compelling justificatory framework to assess claims for self-determination, with its idea of domination. I argue, that in comparative consideration of the three existing theories and the republican alternative, republicanism provides the most satisfying justificatory framework to assess the claims groups make for self-determination. I argue that groups that either: (i) fail to be afforded rights of self-government, or (ii) have the exercise of their rights to self-government constrained whilst other citizens sufficiently exercise these rights, are dominated and have sufficient justification for their claims to self-determination.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Self-Determination; Secession; Republicanism; Domination; Democracy; Freedom
Academic Units: The University of York > Politics (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.685265
Depositing User: Mr Adam Fusco
Date Deposited: 19 May 2016 14:07
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:34
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/13104

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