The often violent emergence of new independent states following the end of the Cold War generated discussion about the normative grounds of territorial separatism. A number of opposing approaches surfaced debating whether and under which circumstances there is a right for a community to secede from its host country. Overwhelmingly, these studies placed emphasis on the right to secession and neglected the moral stance of secessionist movements as agents in international relations. In this book Costas Laoutides explores the collective moral agency involved in secessionist struggles offering a theoretical model for the collective responsibility of secessionist groups. Case-studies on the Kurds and the people of Moldova-Transdniestria illustrate the author’s theoretical arguments as he seeks to establish how, although the principle of self-determination was envisaged as a means of gradually bestowing political power upon the people, it never managed to realize its full potential because it was interpreted strictly within a framework of exclusionary politics of identity.
’The challenges posed to the world’s political boundaries by secessionist movements are both complex and enduring. The political rights and moral aspirations of groups are frequently difficult to reconcile with the prevailing world order, often causing severe hardship and intractable conflict. In this original and insightful study, Costas Laoutides provides a new conceptual guide to understanding self-determination in the modern world. Drawing on the case studies of Kurds and the people of Moldova-Transdniestria, he focuses on the collective moral responsibility of secessionist groups to unlock the unrealised potential of the principle as it was originally conceived. With this approach, Laoutides breaks a theoretical blockage in the subject and redirects scholarship into more hopeful and productive channels. A timely study which is centrally relevant to international politics today, and highly recommended.’ Scott Burchill, Deakin University, Australia ’In this topical book Dr Laoutides explores the collective moral agency involved in secessionist struggles and offers a convincing theoretical model for the collective responsibility of secessionist groups. Laoutides argues that although self-determination was envisaged as the emancipatory means it failed to realize its potential because it was interpreted within a framework of exclusionary politics of identity.’ Alexis Heraclides, Panteion University, Greece