Self-Determination Between the Challenges of Diversity and Liberal peace Dictates

Maria João Barata


Self-determination is a crucial concept in establishing the legitimacy of political communities in the international system, and thereby in constructing social identities and political loyalties. At the most general level, self-determination refers to an idea of a right to freedom. In international politics, it also refers to a norm on ways of bounding political communities. At the same time, what the self-determination precisely means is contested and contingent. I argue that self-determination envolves today amidst a tension between the challenges of diversity and liberal peace dictates. While diversity has to do with varieties of cultural expression, socioeconomic organization and political status, liberal peace dictates concern global governance practices that tend to impose previous liberal models of democracy, development and human rights. The essay first presents the evolution of the meaning of self-determination in international politics. Then it addresses critical approaches upon contemporary leberal peace. The remaining sections analyze how contemporary self-determination movements present claims highly suggestive to rethink forms of political community, of state-community relation, and of participation in global governance structures.

Keywords: Self-determination, Liberal Peace, Diversity, Development. 

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