National Self‐Determination

David Miller

in On Nationality

Published in print October 1997 | ISBN: 9780198293569
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599910 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Political Theory

 National Self‐Determination

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From the perspective of the nation, national self‐determination is valuable (1) as a means of implementing social justice; (2) as a means of protecting the national culture; (3) as an expression of collective autonomy. States, moreover, are likely to function most effectively when they embrace a single national community. This helps create trust between citizens, allowing them (1) to solve collective action problems, (2) to support redistributive principles of justice and (3) to practice deliberative forms of democracy. National self‐determination does not entail state sovereignty, and is consistent with recognizing international obligations, including duties of justice. It licences secession only in cases where the claims of the would‐be secessionists cannot be met by institutions of partial self‐determination (e.g. devolved government).

Keywords: culture; deliberative democracy; international justice; political autonomy; redistribution; secession; self‐determination; social justice; sovereignty; trust

Chapter.  16409 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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