Diversity and Self-Determination in International Law
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Diversity and Self-Determination in International Law

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The emergence of new states and independence movements after the Cold War has intensified the long-standing disagreement among international lawyers over the right of self-determination, especially the right of secession. Knop shifts the discussion from the articulation of the right to its interpretation. She argues that the practice of interpretation involves and illuminates a problem of diversity raised by the exclusion of many of the groups that self-determination most affects. Distinguishing different types of exclusion and the relationships between them reveals the deep structures, biases and stakes in the decisions and scholarship on self-determination. Knop's analysis also reveals that the leading cases have grappled with these embedded inequalities. Challenges by colonies, ethnic nations, indigenous peoples, women and others to the gender and cultural biases of international law emerge as integral to the interpretation of self-determination historically, as do attempts by judges and other institutional interpreters to meet these challenges.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 460 pages
  • 158 x 236 x 37mm | 803g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0521781787
  • 9780521781787

Table of contents

Part I. Cold War International Legal Literature: 1. The question of norm-type; 2. Interpretation and identity; 3. Pandemonium, interpretation and participation; Part II. Self-determination interpreted in practice: the challenge of culture: 4. The canon of self-determination; 5. Developing texts; Part III. Self-Determination Interpreted in Practice: The Challenge of Gender: 6. Women and self-determination in Europe after World War I; 7. Women and self-determination in United Nations trust territories; 8. Indigenous women and self-determination; Conclusion.
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Review quote

Review of the hardback: '... Karen Knop presents a series of careful, yet provocative, readings of international legal texts on self-determination.' Fleur Johns, Leiden Journal of International Law Review of the hardback: 'Knop has written a highly impressive, intelligent and sensitive study which is compulsory reading for anyone with an interest in self-determination and, more broadly, for anyone interested in seeing how international law can be used creatively yet responsibly.' International Journal on Minority and Group Rights "As discrete analytical units, her chapters shine, illuminating how the use and application of self-determination cannot be divorced from conceptions of the marginalized claimants. ...these specific discussions are so insightful that the reader is left wondering about their more general implications." The American Journal of International Law
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About Karen Knop

KAREN KNOP is Associate Professor of Law in the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, where she teaches international law and issues of self-determination in international law. She is editor, with Sylvia Ostry, Richard Simeon and Katherine Swinton of Re-Thinking Federalism: Citizens, Markets and Governments in a Changing World (1995).
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