Recognition versus Self-Determination

Dilemmas of Emancipatory Politics

Edited by Avigail Eisenberg, Jeremy Webber, Glen Coulthard, and Andrée Boisselle

  • Published: February 2015
  • Subject Listing: Native American and Indigenous Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 348 pp., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: US rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

The political concept of recognition has introduced new ways of thinking about the relationship between minorities and justice in plural societies. But is a politics informed by recognition valuable to minorities today? Critics contend that relations of recognition allow dominant groups to distort and essentialize the cultures of minorities, and to co-opt them through promises for modest reforms rather than deeper structural changes to political systems which are unjust. In contrast, struggles for self-determination promise freedom from the constraints one group imposes on another. But what does this kind of freedom amount to in a globalized world? Can a politics of self-determination avoid the risks of recognition? What factors help avoid these risks? What role do political actors play in helping groups negotiate relations of recognition and self-determination successfully?

Contributors to this volume examine the successes and failures of struggles for recognition and self-determination in relation to claims of religious groups, cultural minorities, and indigenous peoples on territories associated with Canada, the United States, Europe, Latin America, India, New Zealand, and Australia. The cases look at cultural recognition in the context of public policy about both intellectual and physical property, membership practices, and independence movements, while probing debates about toleration, democratic citizenship, and colonialism.

Together the contributions point to a distinctive set of challenges posed by a politics of recognition and self-determination to peoples seeking emancipation from unjust relations.
Avigail Eisenberg is a professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria. Jeremy Webber is Dean of Law and Canada Research Chair in Law and Society at the University of Victoria. Glen Coulthard is a member of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation and is an assistant professor in the First Nations Studies Program and the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia. Andrée Boisselle is an assistant professor at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University.