A Concept in Search of a Principle : An Analysis of the Origins and Development of the Contested Notion of Self-Determination in International Law
Abstract: Employing a socio-legal approach that draws on Bourdieuian studies of law, this study critically examines self-determination’s status as a norm of international activity by tracing the manner in which it has been articulated and transformed by a number of key actors, the empirical and theoretical tensions accompanying its trajectory, and the negotiations and interactive contestations that lie outside of a functionalist historical approach. This study contends that the law of self-determination is not and has never been a settled matter in either legal or political doctrine, rather that it has been continuously developing conceptually and pragmatically in response to changing geopolitical pressures and legal and political climates. As I will argue, the polysemy and indeterminacy of the concept of self-determination is generated not only by its diverse history and its circulation amongst various actors as an important rhetorical and normative tool, but by the struggle to define its content and very nature as a legal idea.
This dissertation MIGHT be available in PDF-format. Check this page to see if it is available for download.