EUCN NZ Symposium : Statehood, Sovereignty, and Secession: The EU and Beyond

Statehood, Sovereignty, and Secession: The EU and Beyond - An EUCN NZ Symposium

University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Thursday, August 31 – Friday, September 1, 2017.

The conventional laws and norms of statehood are currently coming under pressure and facing challenges from a variety of angles. These challenges, which are often tied to competing claims about the meaning of sovereignty or the legality or desirability of secession from existing states, are global in their distribution and in their potential implications. Debates over the possible consequences of Scottish or Catalan independence, concerns over the legal status of (amongst others) Kosovo and Crimea, questions about the significance of the challenge posed by the emergence of the Islamic State, and disagreements over the long-term implications of regional integration for the link between sovereignty and the nation-state, all point towards some fundamental challenges for international law and politics: What counts as statehood today? To what extent do differing concepts of sovereignty challenge the functioning of international law? To what extent has secession succeeded or failed in generating stability or lessening oppression for minorities within existing states? What is the relationship between regional integration and secessionism, and has European integration in particular contributed towards the break-up of multi-national states? How do different cases illustrate the problems associated with unstable concepts of statehood and sovereignty? Are we heading toward a major crisis for the international legal and political order, or is this just business as usual?

The purpose of this workshop is to draw together expertise on the theoretical, legal and practical dimensions of these challenges to statehood. We welcome paper submissions relevant to:

  • The legal and political meaning of statehood and sovereignty in contemporary international relations;
  • Contemporary challenges of secession and independence;
  • The international law of recognition;
  • Concepts of state legitimacy in international relations;
  • The connections between sub-state nationalisms and regional integration, particularly in the context of the European Union;
  • Examination of particular cases of secessionist movements or claimants to statehood, including, for example, Scotland, Catalunya, Basque separatists, Kosovo, Crimea, the Islamic State, and Somaliland.

Please submit a 250 word (max.) abstract to Jeremy Moses (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) by May 19.

Keynote Address

The Keynote Address for this workshop will be presented by Aidan Hehir on the topic "Who is Responsible for Failed State Building in Kosovo?"

Aidan Hehir is Reader in International Relations at the University of Westminster, UK. He is the author/editor of numerous titles, including Humanitarian Intervention: An Introduction (2nd edn, 2013), The Responsibility to Protect: Rhetoric, Reality and the Future of Humanitarian Intervention (2012) and Protecting Human Rights in the 21st Century (forthcoming, 2017).


Funding may be available for workshop participants to support travel within New Zealand or, in very limited cases, internationally. Please contact Rebecca Morgan (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for further details.