Territory and Justice: a research network

October 20, 2014

Territory and justice symposia 3: Kantian theories of territorial rights

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chris Bertram @ 12:04 pm

Theories of territorial rights provide a basis for the claims that groups make to control territory. They attempt to determine why territorial rights are to be allocated and understood in one way rather than another. In their recent work, Anna Stliz and Lea Ypi have advanced Kantian theories of territorial rights.

In “Nations, States, and Territory”, Stilz develops the legitimate state theory as an alternative to nationalist based claims. Introducing the legitimate state theory, Stilz argues that ‘the reason why states are the proper possessors of territorial jurisdiction, in my view, is that they are necessary to provide a unitary and public interpretation of the rights of individuals and to enforce these rights in a way that is consistent with those individuals’ continued freedom and independence from one another’ (p.580).

Ypi proposes a permissive theory of territorial rights, arguing ‘that the citizens of each state are entitled to the particular territory they collectively occupy if an only if they are also politically committed to the establishment of a global political authority realising just reciprocal relations’ (p.1).

As a locus for discussion and debate, the Territory and Justice network presents this symposium with the aims of advancing engagement with this recent and thought-provoking research and of preparing the ground for future enquiry.

In their commentaries, Alice Pinheiro Walla and Clara Sandelind examine the leading themes and ideas presented by Stilz and Ypi, and identify areas where further analysis is required.

Pinheiro Walla suggests that both Stilz’s legitimate state theory and Ypi’s permissive theory fail to adequately account for limitations on territorial rights. She argues that ‘Ypi’s permissive theory allows too much arbitrariness in regard to provisional acquisition [and] Stilz’s account lacks a more unified approach to occupancy rights’ (p.6).

Sandelind explores the problems that particularity poses for the two theories. She contends that these Kantian theories of territorial rights struggle to tell us ‘how boundaries ought to be drawn, or why particular states have rights over particular territories’ (p.3). Her analysis plants the seeds for her own alternative theory of territorial rights which she may develop further elsewhere.

I wish to acknowledge the generous support of Anna Stilz and Lea Ypi. I also put on record my appreciation for the endeavour and expertise offered by Alice Pinheiro Walla and Clara Sandelind.

Timothy Mawe (Managing Editor).

(Click on name to access the article)

Anna Stilz (Princeton University) “Nations, States, and Territory”

Lea Ypi (London School of Economics and Political Science) “A Permissive Theory of Territorial Rights”

With Commentaries by

Alice Pinheiro Walla (University College Cork)

Clara Sandelind (University of Sheffield)

Please note: in downloading any of the articles linked above you affirm that they are for your own personal use. For any other purpose, you must obtain permission from the publisher (in the case of target articles) or the author (in the case of JTS commentaries and replies).

How to cite these commentaries:
Author Last Name, Author First Name, “Title of Commentary”, Territory and Justice Symposia (Edition), Cara Nine (ed.), URL .

(also available via the Territory and Justice Network main page at http://eis.bris.ac.uk/~plcdib/territory.html )


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