A Political Theory of Territory

A Political Theory of Territory

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Our world is currently divided into territorial states that resist all attempts to change their borders. But what entitles a state, or the people it represents, to assume monopoly control over a particular piece of the Earth's surface? Why are they allowed to prevent others from entering? What if two or more states, or two or more groups of people, claim the same piece of land?

Political philosophy, which has had a great deal to say about the relationship between state and citizen, has largely ignored these questions about territory. This book provides answers. It justifies the idea of territory itself in terms of the moral value of political self-determination; it also justifies, within limits, those elements that we normally associate with territorial rights: rights of jurisdiction, rights over resources, right to control borders and so on. The book offers
normative guidance over a number of important issues facing us today, all of which involve territory and territorial rights, but which are currently dealt with by ad hoc reasoning: disputes over resources; disputes over boundaries, oceans, unoccupied islands, and the frozen Arctic; disputes rooted in
historical injustices with regard to land; secessionist conflicts; and irredentist conflicts. In a world in which there is continued pressure on borders and control over resources, from prospective migrants and from the desperate poor, and no coherent theory of territory to think through these problems, this book offers an original, systematic, and sophisticated theory of why territory matters, who has rights over territory, and the scope and limits of these rights.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 280 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 16mm | 400g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0190845791
  • 9780190845797
  • 1,209,512

Table of contents

1. Why do we need a Political Theory of Territory?
2. What is Territory? conceptual analysis and justificatory burdens.
3. Foundations of a Theory of Territory: Individual Moral Rights of Residency, Collective Moral Rights of Occupancy and a People's Rights of Self-determination.
4. Non-Statist Theories of Territory
5. Functionalist/Statist Theories of Territory
6. Heartlands, Contested Areas Secession, and Boundaries
7. Corrective Justice and the Wrongful Taking of Land, Territory and Property
8. Territorial Rights and Natural Resources
9. Territorial Rights and Rights to control Borders/Immigration
10. The Right to Territorial Integrity and the Legitimacy of the Use of Force.
11. Conclusion.
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Review quote

[An] immense achievement ... This book stakes out a major new position in the debate on territorial rights that will resonate within that debate for years to come. * Contemporary Political Theory * The work is well grounded in the literature, its argument is powerful, and it is clear and highly accessible. An important contribution to the field...Highly recommended." * Choice * This is a well-written, well-argued book on an extraordinarily important and until recently neglected topic. Moore is impressively knowledgeable of all the relevant philosophical literature and does an excellent job in general of distinguishing her view from those of others such as Miller, Waldron, Kolers, Meisels, and Nine. Moore succeeds in staking out a new, yet very plausible position-one that avoids the deficiencies of rival theories. * Allen Buchanan, James B. Duke Professor, Duke University * Above and beyond the originality of its arguments, Moore's book impressively surveys and critiques all the relevant philosophical literature on territory, presenting its reader with a clear overview of pre-existing accounts, as well as distinguishing its own contribution from those that pre-date it. No other author to date has taken on the wide array of issues discussed in Moore's current work, nor has anyone previously addressed the entire range of interlocutors in
the territorial debate. Moore delivers on her promise, presenting us with a systematic book length theory of territory, unmatched by any of the previous writing on this topic. She has given those of us interested in territorial justice a book which deserves much praise. For anyone working on issues
related to territory, this book is a veritable 'must read'. * Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews Online * A Political Theory of Territory is a pathbreaking book: it is one of the first monographs to assess the existing literature on this issue, and to contribute an original argument on a topic that has become central to normative Anglo-American political philosophy in recent decades. * Perspectives on Politics * Moore's dense and rigorous critique of alternative theories of territorial rights will be of considerable value to scholars. * George Anderson, Literary Review of Canada *
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About Margaret Moore

Margaret Moore is a Professor in the Political Studies department at Queen's University (Canada). She is the author of Foundations of Liberalism and Ethics of Nationalism.
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