Self-determination and Immigration Control: A Critique

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapter


Self-determination is a moral claim of a people to rule themselves. It is recognised as a fundamental right and a basic principle of governance in contemporary international society. This chapter analyses the leading contemporary theories defending the right of immigration control as an integral part of self-determination. This chapter discusses three distinct variants of the self-determination argument against open border—the first appeals to the value of collective autonomy; the second is concerned with the proper functioning of democratic institutions; and the third appeals to the territorial rights of a political community— and argues that they are problematic. It then defends a relational understanding of collective self-determination proposed by Iris Young, which understands self-determination as a form of non-domination. Grounding the right to self-determination on the value of non-domination, however, implies that a state’s right to exclude foreigners should be significantly constrained and should be weighed against the strength of the claims of potential migrants.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCan Human Rights and National Sovereignty Coexist?
EditorsTetsu Sakurai, Mauro Zamboni
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781003102717
ISBN (Print)9780367609658
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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