Beyond a One-Dimensional State: An Emerging Right to Autonomy?

By: Zelim Skurbaty

ISBN: 978-90-04-14204-6

The beginning of the 21st century is characterized by global structural changes and worldwide concern for the problems surrounding the relationships between states and minority groups. Autonomy has become a code word for an all-purpose means of inclusion of sub-state groups in the three major functions that make for the essence of international law: the allocation of competence, the furtherance of common interest and the maintenance of international peace. Since to be autonomous is to be a law to oneself, and autonomous agents are self-governing agents, the authors of this present volume try give an answer – each from a particular professional perspective- to one overriding question: what conditions must be met in order to ensure that the autonomous agents govern themselves, and govern effectively. With a scholarly attention to analytical precision, factual accuracy, and scrupulous objectivity the authors of the present volume – coming from such diverse fields as international law, philosophy, ethics, economics, political science, – detail and explore the protean character of autonomy as both a concept (autonomy’s subtypes, autonomy vs. other arrangements for the diffusion of power within heterogeneous societies, new definitions of the concept, etc.) and a practice (the potential of autonomy in the peaceful resolution of ethnic conflicts; comparative case studies, ranging from Greenland to Eritrea, from the Baltic States to South Asia). For all their differences in background and style, the authors share the common belief that autonomy, if properly understood and applied, holds considerable potential for ensuring an effective and harmonious co-existence for diverse groups within modern states. As such this book will hold particular appeal for all those (students, academics, policymakers, practitioners) who are on a quest for empowering insights vis-à-vis state-minority modus vivendi and ways to mitigate inter-group tensions by compromise.

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