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National Minorities and the European Nation-States System$
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Jennifer Jackson Preece

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198294375

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198294375.001.0001

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Why are National Minorities a Subject of European International Relations?

Why are National Minorities a Subject of European International Relations?

(p.30) Chapter 3 Why are National Minorities a Subject of European International Relations?
National Minorities and the European Nation-States System


Oxford University Press

This chapter explores why national minorities should be a subject of international relations when this field is primarily concerned with states and not groups or individuals within a state’s domestic jurisdiction. If statesmen and stateswomen demonstrated no concern for such groups in their foreign policies, then national minorities certainly would not be an appropriate subject for a book on international politics, though they would still be suitable for studies of domestic governance or constitutional law or political sociology, among others. However, such international indifference towards minorities does not exist: in practice, the foreign relations of many countries both today and in the past have been concerned with national minorities. This is because although the modern theory of state sovereignty postulates a neat fit between international boundaries and politically significant identities, in reality the two rarely coincide.

Keywords:   national minorities, Europe, international relations, nations, independence, national self-determination, nation-states, minority rights

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