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Nations as justified substate authorities

Nations as justified substate authorities
Nations as justified substate authorities

Many classic and contemporary works on the moral status of ‘nations’ examine whether nations have unique features that require providing them with a distinctive status. Yet identifying features that can ground distinct national rights to secession or co-national partiality, for two prominent examples, remains exceedingly difficult. Many accordingly question whether there is anything morally ‘special’ about nations. This work seeks to address this concern by refocusing analysis of nations' role in political morality. It defends analysing nations' moral status by focusing on a more prosaic issue motivated by other nationalist demands, namely, whether substate nations can justifiably possess power(s) to make decisions about particular subjects for co-nationals within an encompassing state unfettered by that state's direct involvement. It argues that nations are ‘special’ if they can justifiably possess such ‘substate authority’, even if nothing requires that nations possess it. It then identifies and motivates five criteria for justified substate national authority. These criteria explain how, when and why substate nations can hold particular, identifiable powers within states when other groups cannot. It thereby identifies an important role for nations in political morality. The work concludes by demonstrating how it helps further three ongoing debates about the moral status of nations.

Political philosophy, nationalism, nations, political theory, political theory of the nation, sub-state nationalism
806-824
Da Silva, Michael
05ad649f-8409-4012-8edc-88709b1a3182
Da Silva, Michael
05ad649f-8409-4012-8edc-88709b1a3182

Da Silva, Michael (2022) Nations as justified substate authorities. Nations and Nationalism, 28 (3), 806-824. (doi:10.1111/nana.12850).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Many classic and contemporary works on the moral status of ‘nations’ examine whether nations have unique features that require providing them with a distinctive status. Yet identifying features that can ground distinct national rights to secession or co-national partiality, for two prominent examples, remains exceedingly difficult. Many accordingly question whether there is anything morally ‘special’ about nations. This work seeks to address this concern by refocusing analysis of nations' role in political morality. It defends analysing nations' moral status by focusing on a more prosaic issue motivated by other nationalist demands, namely, whether substate nations can justifiably possess power(s) to make decisions about particular subjects for co-nationals within an encompassing state unfettered by that state's direct involvement. It argues that nations are ‘special’ if they can justifiably possess such ‘substate authority’, even if nothing requires that nations possess it. It then identifies and motivates five criteria for justified substate national authority. These criteria explain how, when and why substate nations can hold particular, identifiable powers within states when other groups cannot. It thereby identifies an important role for nations in political morality. The work concludes by demonstrating how it helps further three ongoing debates about the moral status of nations.

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Accepted/In Press date: 5 April 2022
e-pub ahead of print date: 12 May 2022
Published date: July 2022
Additional Information: Funding Information: Thank you to Hannah Da Silva, Vanessa Rampton, Geoffrey Sigalet, Daniel Weinstock, audiences at meetings of the International Association for the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy and the Groupe de recherche en philosophie politique de Montréal, and anonymous reviewers for feedback on previous iterations and to the journal for editorial assistance. Publisher Copyright: © 2022 Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Keywords: Political philosophy, nationalism, nations, political theory, political theory of the nation, sub-state nationalism

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 457102
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/457102
PURE UUID: 989ec643-97fe-4e3b-bb9e-9d9ae70c4e0c

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Date deposited: 24 May 2022 16:36
Last modified: 04 Oct 2022 16:30

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Author: Michael Da Silva

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