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 is self-determination meaningful or desirable in the twenty-first 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 argues that geographic proximity alone is not enough for groups to have the capacity for self-determination: group members must also identify with each other. He explores the different political forms that self-determination can take, and he suggests some realistic constraints on how it can be achieved, concluding that people exercising their collective agency is still both feasible and important. 

Anyone concerned by the theoretical issues raised by the various secessionist and nationalist movements around the world should read this book.

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  • January 2020
  • 140 pages
  • 127 x 191 mm / 5 x 8 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $45.00
  • 9781509533466
  • Paperback $12.95
  • 9781509533473
  • Open eBook $10.99
  • 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 at Nuffield College, Oxford.

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‘This lucid and accessible book by one of the world’s leading political philosophers defends the contemporary relevance of self-determination. A first-class read that masterfully engages its critics.’
Anna Stilz, Princeton University 

‘In this characteristically intelligent book, David Miller explores the concept of self-determination in its relation to democracy, peoplehood, decolonization and the rise of supranational institutions. He offers a philosophically nuanced and morally compelling defence of self-determination from which his critics especially will learn a great deal.’
Lea Ypi, London School of Economics

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