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Boxing PandoraRethinking Borders, States, and Secession in a Democratic World$
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Timothy William Waters

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300235890

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300235890.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 19 May 2022

The Failure of a Flourishing Idea: The Decadence of Self-Determination

The Failure of a Flourishing Idea: The Decadence of Self-Determination

(p.15) 1 The Failure of a Flourishing Idea: The Decadence of Self-Determination
Boxing Pandora

Timothy William Waters

Yale University Press

This chapter traces the origins of current commitments about territory and peoples. The rules and assumptions governing how people think about territory and political community are not immutable; in fact they are quite recent in origin. Their history, like that of many ideas, is full of reversals of meaning. Thus, the chapter examines how the legal doctrines and political commitments developed historically, to see how people have arrived at the particular system of rules about territory, states, and people that exists today. At the center of this system is the idea of self-determination, but the broader frame concerns rules and justifications for forming and preserving states. It is possible to talk about new states or even secession without invoking self-determination. The term will prove useful, however, when one considers the reasons for making new states: One will find that self-determination provides the underlying logic for why people might want to make new states at all.

Keywords:   territory, political community, legal doctrines, political commitments, states, self-determination, secession

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