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Nations as justified substate authorities

Nations and Nationalism

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["Nations and Nationalism, Volume 28, Issue 3, Page 806-824, July 2022. ", "\nAbstract\nMany classic and contemporary works on the moral status of ‘nations’ examine whether nations have unique features that require providing them with a distinctive status. Yet identifying features that can ground distinct national rights to secession or co‐national partiality, for two prominent examples, remains exceedingly difficult. Many accordingly question whether there is anything morally ‘special’ about nations. This work seeks to address this concern by refocusing analysis of nations' role in political morality. It defends analysing nations' moral status by focusing on a more prosaic issue motivated by other nationalist demands, namely, whether substate nations can justifiably possess power(s) to make decisions about particular subjects for co‐nationals within an encompassing state unfettered by that state's direct involvement. It argues that nations are ‘special’ if they can justifiably possess such ‘substate authority’, even if nothing requires that nations possess it. It then identifies and motivates five criteria for justified substate national authority. These criteria explain how, when and why substate nations can hold particular, identifiable powers within states when other groups cannot. It thereby identifies an important role for nations in political morality. The work concludes by demonstrating how it helps further three ongoing debates about the moral status of nations.\n"]