Authority, Nationality, and Minorities

18 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2015

See all articles by Alex Schwartz

Alex Schwartz

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Date Written: September 2015


Prominent normative theories for accommodating minority national groups appeal to the value of national cultures and/or the psychology of group recognition. This article aims to show that an argument from political authority provides a better justification. Building on Joseph Raz's theory of authority, the article argues that members of minority national groups are disadvantaged in relation to their majority counterparts under standard democratic institutions; such institutions do not provide minority national groups with comparable access to the conditions for legitimate political authority. Constitutional arrangements for accommodating minority national groups — such as territorial self‐government or power‐sharing — are justified insofar as they might offset this disadvantage.

Suggested Citation

Schwartz, Alex, Authority, Nationality, and Minorities (September 2015). Ratio Juris, Vol. 28, Issue 3, pp. 354-371, 2015, Available at SSRN: or

Alex Schwartz (Contact Author)

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong, Hong Kong

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