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Underwater Self-determination: Sea-level Rise and Deterritorialized Small Island States
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2014 (English)In: Ethics, Policy & Environment, ISSN 2155-0085, E-ISSN 2155-0093, Vol. 17, no 2, 225-237 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Global climate change is likely to become a major cause of future migration. Small Island States are particularly vulnerable since territorial destruction caused by sea level rise poses a threat to their entire existence. This raises important issues concerning state sovereignty and selfdetermination. Is it possible for a people to remain self-determining even if it lacks a stable population residing on a specific territory? It has been suggested that migrants from disappearing Small Island States could continue to exercise sovereign control over their abandoned territory. Such an arrangement would allow them to retain a measure of selfdetermination. The question posed in this paper is whether this ‘deterritorialised state proposal’ is conceptually plausible and normatively acceptable. I argue that the proposal is conceptually plausible if we adopt a gradual understanding of ‘self-determination’, but that its normative acceptability is weak even if it is supplemented with compensatory measures.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2014. Vol. 17, no 2, 225-237 p.
Keyword [en]
climate change, compensation, deterritorialised states, self-determination, sovereignty, Small Island States
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-191013DOI: 10.1080/21550085.2014.926086OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-191013DiVA: diva2:584667
Swedish Research Council, 2009-1748
Available from: 2013-01-09 Created: 2013-01-09 Last updated: 2014-08-15Bibliographically approved

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Ödalen, Jörgen
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Department of Government
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