Approaching the boundary problem: Self-determination, inclusion, and the unpuzzling of transboundary conflicts
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonJournal of International Political Theory, 2021. 10.1177/17550882211020386
In recent decades, decisionmakers have increasingly faced conflicts juxtaposing demands for self-determination and inclusion. Political theorists term this juxtaposition “the boundary problem.” They have offered normative solutions, especially for “just inclusion,” proposing what states owe to exogenous individuals like migrants and refugees. Meanwhile, as I show, legal scholars have developed parallel observations regarding what I term “just exclusion,” concerning how self-determination by sub-state collectives, such as minority nations, interacts with the inclusion rights of members of the majority. I make, first, a descriptive contribution, showing decisionmakers how political theories of “just inclusion” and legal theories of “just exclusion” are complementary, uniting to frame the boundary problem. Second, I make a prescriptive contribution, deploying this frame to lay out a stepwise approach so decisionmakers can more logically work through boundary-problem conflicts.