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Redistributing Territory


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Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs

Sovereignty, Order and Conflict presents 

Redistributing Territory

States claim exclusionary sovereignty rights that often involve denying outsiders access to both their territories and the natural resources situated there. Can these exclusionary rights be justified? I argue that if it is to be legitimate, the states system must impose a fair-use proviso on the distribution of territory. This means a state may not exclude outsiders in cases (i) where their basic territorial interests are persistently unfulfilled where they now are, or (ii) where they lack a territorial base in which to pursue the social, cultural, economic, and political practices that matter to them. Fulfilling this duty requires changes to our refugee and asylum practices. I thematize this issue with respect to climate refugees, asking whether there is a case for redistributing territory to groups who lose self-determination through no fault of their own, by creating new self-governing, sovereign or semi-sovereign units for them. 

Anna Stilz

Professor, Princeton University

Anna Stilz is Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Politics and the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University

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