Secession and Self-Determination

Susanna Mancini

in The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Law

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199578610
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

Secession and Self-Determination

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This article adopts a comprehensive approach to secession, one that encompasses both its revolutionary and its institutionally conservative dimension. Secession can be viewed as one among other means of political separation within a multinational state, a ‘possibility’ inscribed within a state's political and constitutional discourse, without necessarily connoting the establishment of a new state. In this light, the analysis of secession logically fits within the broader discussion relating to minority rights and citizenship in multinational societies. The article is organized as follows. Section II briefly outlines the principal theories that justify secession. Section III analyzes the evolution of secession in international law and in international practice, as a corollary of the right of all peoples to self-determination. Finally, Section IV turns to the relationship between secession and constitutionalism and asks whether the constitutionalization of the right to secede can, in particular context, be regarded as a constructive response to secessionist challenges and what its implications are for constitutional law.

Keywords: political separation; international law; self-determination; constitutionalism; constitutional law

Article.  11900 words. 

Subjects: Law ; Comparative Law ; Constitutional and Administrative Law

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