The Federated State and International Relations: Quebec in Comparative Perspective

Jean-Francois Payette (Contributor), Alistair Cole*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

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Using the case of Quebec as the central reference, this article proposes a framework of analysis for understanding federated foreign policy, using a most similar design that integrates four distinct types of international action by sub-state authorities. The foreign policy rivalry between Canada and its francophone province gets to the heart of what constitutes the state in international relations. Federated states such as Quebec rely on recognition of their claims from the broader international community of states and their international organisations. In none of the examples considered here except the specific case of Belgium has the constituent state recognised the state-like quality of a component or successor state, which would be a precondition for recognition by the international system itself. The argument, ultimately, is a constitutional one: federated states will be recognised as international actors insofar as they are vested with external authority as an extension of their domestic competencies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of International Politics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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