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Self-Determination, Democracy and Exclusion

Francis, Bennet; (2019) Self-Determination, Democracy and Exclusion. Masters thesis (M.Phil.Stud), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This thesis addresses the question of whether the putative group right of collective selfdetermination can be invoked to justify the state’s presumed right to exclude foreigners from its territory. This form of argument represents a growing trend in the literature on exclusion. Such arguments are potentially extremely powerful, as, if successful, they would vindicate a right to exclude largely at the discretion of the receiver state, rather than a right limited to certain cases. It is here argued that theorists who share certain commitments – here referred to as “liberal individualists” - cannot consistently defend a discretionary right to exclude through this approach. The argument proceeds by way of three “case studies”. First, it is shown that the right to collective self-determination cannot be justified as an extension of individual autonomy. Recognising this, theorists with broadly individualist commitments defend the group right to self-determination on the basis of some irreducibly collective value it is said to serve – collective property, and collective freedom of association. Yet it is here argued these theorists are unsuccessful, as a result of their inability to square an irreducibly collective value with their individualistic commitments. It is then suggested that the nature of democratic institutions may be able to explain why we ought to respect group rights accorded to states in the same way we respect the autonomy of individuals. It is argued, however, that no realistically achievable system of democracy would be capable of furnishing such an explanation. An assessment of the reasons these three forms of argument fail provides evidence for a more definite claim: any defence of a right to collective selfdetermination that could justify a discretionary right to exclude must involve the wholesale rejection of moral individualism, the thesis that there are no intrinsically collective goods.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Qualification: M.Phil.Stud
Title: Self-Determination, Democracy and Exclusion
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10066829
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