Self-determination: A contested political concept
The right of self-determination has become one of the most contested matters in international affairs. The number of ethnic groups currently exercising this right in an attempt establish a separate state has increased and more often than not, this attempt results in armed conflict with an already recognized state. This paper looks at the contested and often violent exercise of the right of self-determination through qualitative research culminating in three case studies on the Turkish Kurds, the Iraqi Kurds and the Sri Lankan Tamils. Alternatives to nationalism, such as various democratic and consociational models are explored as a viable option for ethnic groups, states and the international community as ways to address a people's right of self-determination.