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Working paper

Secession Versus Self-Determination: Some Critical Remarks on Contemporary Theories

    From the beginning of the 1980s the problem of secession has become one of the most discussed topics among the political theory scholars in Western academia. Two main groups of theories which accept secession as a legitimate and morally permissible form of political action have emerged since then: remedial (or just-cause) theories and “liberal” theories. The remedial theories regard secession as a remedy which can be used against the injustices a group suffers within a state. The liberal theories grant any territorially organised group a right to secede and form a new state if the latter complies with the requirements we usually demand of a contemporary democratic regime. What is common for both theories is their open acclaim of the right of self-determination. The study seeks to show that a theory of secession based on a self-determination principle must adopt a substantially wider understanding of secession than both of these theories can offer – a one which does not require a creation of a new state as a result.