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Title: The tyranny of the majority : partition and the evolution of self-determination in international law, 1492-1994
Author: Kattan, Victor
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis examines the evolution of nationhood in international law through the prism of partition. It argues that partition broadly refers to the division of a nation that is undertaken without obtaining the prior consent of that nation. In part one of the thesis the origins of partition is traced back to the 1698 and 1700 partition treaties when the word "partition" was first used in an international treaty. These treaties are then compared to the treaties that partitioned Poland (1772, 1793, and 1795) in order to explain how the idea of self-determination emerged, which arose out of the opposition expressed to those partitions, to suppressing revolution, and to acquiring territory by conquest. Part two of the thesis then examines the manner in which self-determination was applied in the Age of Imperialism to non-European territory and how a distinction was made between European and non-European peoples. In this era the idea of numerical self-determination was explicitly ruled out. A nation had to attain certain standards before it would be deemed ready for independence. The third part of the thesis examines partition in the Age of Decolonization when self-determination was applied for the first time to non- European peoples. However, in those colonies where Europeans inhabited non-European territory, the colonial power tended to self-identify with the European community and proposed partition to safeguard the national identity of that community. This led to the Third World advancing an understanding of self-determination that was based on majority rule in order to prevent self-determination from being applied to minorities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral