National self-determination: Political, not cultural

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Many liberal theorists misinterpret nationality and the demand for national self-determination. This paper asks what is the claim for national self-determination. Following this, it is asked which way of meeting the demand is the best one. While analysing the circumstances in which the demand is raised, it is argued that this claim is political rather than cultural, and that therefore some of the solutions which have been put forward in theory and in practice (especially autonomy) do not meet this claim. It is also argued that the failure of many Western politicians and political theorists to address the demand for national self-determination as a political demand derives from three reasons: methodological, moral and ideological.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)906-920
Number of pages15
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1996


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