Journal Article

Rethinking the boundaries of democratic secession: Liberalism, nationalism, and the right of minorities to self-determination

Susanna Mancini

in International Journal of Constitutional Law

Published on behalf of The New York University School of Law

Volume 6, issue 3-4, pages 553-584
Published in print January 2008 | ISSN: 1474-2640
Published online September 2008 | e-ISSN: 1474-2659 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icon/mon022
Rethinking the boundaries of democratic secession: Liberalism, nationalism, and the right of minorities to self-determination

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Whereas secession has been dealt with extensively in international law, in connection with the creation and recognition of states, it has received little attention as a possible tool in the constitutional protection of minority rights. This paper examines the more frequent uses and invocations of secession and assesses their potential adaptability as means of promoting minority group rights. It argues that international law and the international community have never provided coherent guidance for responding to nationalistic minority aspirations or, specifically, to secessionist challenges. At the same time, constitutional models regarding the management of national diversity have also failed to reconcile liberal democracy and nationalism. From a substantive point of view, there is probably no solution to such difficulties. Neither available model of “constitutional coexistence” nor of secession is likely, ultimately, to be satisfactory. Nonetheless, the adoption of an explicit constitutional procedural approach to secession provides the best means of averting the worst dangers and excesses.

Journal Article.  14915 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law ; UK Politics

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