Is Self-Determination a Dangerous Illusion?
Is Self-Determination a Dangerous Illusion?

Claims to self-determination are rife in world politics today. They range from Scottish and Catalonian campaigns for independence to calls for the devolution of power to regions and cities. But what does self-determination actually mean? Is it meaningful or desirable in the 21st century, or merely a dangerous illusion?


In this book, David Miller mounts a powerful defence of political self-determination. He explains why it is valuable, and examines how groups must be constituted if they are to have the capacity to be self-determining, arguing that geographic proximity alone is not enough: group members must also identify with each other. He then explores the different political forms that self-determination can take, and suggests some realistic constraints on how it can be achieved in a complex multicultural and multinational world. He concludes that it is still both feasible and important for people to regain control over their environment by exercising their collective agency.


This topical and lively introductory book will be essential reading for anyone concerned by the theoretical issues raised by the various secessionist and nationalist movements around the world.

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  • November 2019
  • 140 pages
  • 124 x 190 mm / 5 x 7 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $45.00
  • 9781509533466
  • Paperback $12.95
  • 9781509533473
  • Open eBook $12.95
  • 9781509533497
Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Introduction

Chapter 2 The Value of Self-Determination

Chapter 3 The Agents of Self-Determination

Chapter 4 Self-Determination and Secession

Chapter 5 Self-Determination Within, Alongside and Beyond the Nation-State?

About the Author
David Miller is Professor of Political Theory and Senior Research Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford
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