Authority, Nationality, and Minorities

Alex Schwartz

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Prominent normative theories for accommodating minority national groups appeal to the value of national cultures and/or the psychology of group recognition. This article aims to show that an argument from political authority provides a better justification. Building on Joseph Raz's theory of authority, the article argues that members of minority national groups are disadvantaged in relation to their majority counterparts under standard democratic institutions; such institutions do not provide minority national groups with comparable access to the conditions for legitimate political authority. Constitutional arrangements for accommodating minority national groups—such as territorial self-government or power-sharing—are justified insofar as they might offset this disadvantage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354–371
Number of pages18
JournalRatio Juris
Issue number3
Early online date13 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015


  • Authority
  • Nationalism
  • Joseph Raz
  • Minorities


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