Autonomy is a matter of interest not only for academics, but equally for practitioners involved
in negotiations about institutional design (politicians, civil
servants, their advisors and third party facilitators from international
organizations). Bearing this in mind, the research conducted for this
project also has a decidedly practical purpose, i.e. to make precisely
such people aware of the wealth of options provided by existing autonomy
arrangements. Even though it is not possible to transplant one
arrangement in its entirety from one context to another, such awareness
may facilitate the work of practitioners because it prevents them from
having to re-invent every single aspect of the wheel. This has two main
implications for our research. First, in order to demonstrate the real
wealth of options at hand, we do not limit ourselves to the analysis of
the widely acclaimed standard cases, but also cover lesser-known and so
far understudied arrangements of autonomy. Secondly, the practical
approach compels us to focus on information that is really useful for
practitioners and to present it in a user-friendly manner.
characteristic of research within this project is its effort to link
insights gained by previous studies from different academic disciplines.
In concrete terms, we aim in our analysis to bridge comparative politics and comparative constitutional law.
The project team is well suited for such an endeavor because it is
composed of experienced researchers from both disciplines. Moreover,
external experts contributing case studies to the webpage are required
to equally consider both law and political science aspects of the
respective autonomy arrangements.
Furthermore, our research is inspired by the aim to bridge studies on territorial and non-territorial autonomy.
While territorial arrangements are on a global scale clearly more
numerous and better covered by academic analysis, there has been since
the 1990s a trend towards very diverse non-territorial arrangements. The
fact that our research also scrutinizes and presents numerous cases of
this latter form of autonomy constitutes an important added value. This
puts people interested in the webpage in a position to keep track of the
enormous variety, which autonomy arrangements stand for today.
Ethnic Hungarians in Romania put forward new proposal for autonomy
6 February 2017, Bucharest (Romania)
The Official Gazette of Romania published recently a citizens' legislative initiative regarding the autonomy of Szeklerland, a historical region in central Romania where the majority population is Hungarian. To be sent to the Romanian parliament for debate, the authors of the citizens' legislative initiative must collect 100 000 supporting signatures within six months from the day of publication in the Official Gazette. According to the proposal, Romanian and Hungarian would be co-official languages of the autonomous region Szeklerland. The state would grant primary powers over a range of policy areas to the autonomous region, which would establish its own managing institutions. Read more...
Indigenous right to and forms of (legally recognized) autonomy
17 January 2017, Bolzano/Bozen (Italy)
EURAC researcher Alexandra Tomaselli discusses the indigenous right to autonomy on the blog of the Multidisciplinary Network on Indigenous Peoples. Since the late 1980s and throughout the decade of the 1990s, forms of indigenous autonomy or self-government were introduced in the Constitutions of five Latin American countries (Nicaragua, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela), two of which (Ecuador and Bolivia) have reinforced such arrangements in their recent constitutional reforms (at least, on paper). In Mexico, the 2001 constitutional reform also recognised the indigenous right to autonomy, albeit to be implemented at the state (and not federal) level. Read more…
Italian region of Veneto is planning a referendum on autonomy in the spring 2017
6 December 2016, Venice (Italy)
The people living in Venice and surrounding region are demanding for special autonomous status, with lawmakers of the Italian regional council of Veneto approving a law that defined the people from the region as "national minority", in similar terms as the people of neighbouring South Tyrol. The law would allow for the introduction of bilingual teaching and the knowledge of Venetian language and culture for those who want to work in public administration roles, but opponents of the law think Italy's Constitutional Court will declare it invalid. Read more...
Participatory democracy and reform of the
1972 Autonomy Statute of the Italian region Trentino-South Tyrol
15 October - 2 November 2016, Trento and Bolzano/Bozen (Italy)
EURAC researchers discuss the ongoing reform of
the Autonomy Statute of Trentino-South
Tyrol on academic blogs. On the National Observatory on Language Rights (University of Montréal), Jens Woelk gives an overview of the reform process in the two autonomous
provinces (Trento and South Tyrol) which form the region Trentino-South Tyrol.
The two provinces have chosen their own – and different – participatory
procedures, which will have to be coordinated at regional level. On the European Politics and Policy blog (London School of Economics and Political Science - LSE), Stephen Larin
and Marc Röggla focus on South Tyrol and argue that although the ability of citizens to participate
in the reform has been more limited than originally envisaged, the process is
nevertheless evidence of the potential for power-sharing models to transform
conflicts. In their follow-up post on the LSE Democratic Audit blog, Larin and Röggla propose to bolster South Tyrol's liberal–democratic legitimacy by amending the Autonomy Statue to include 'Others' – the province's official designation for people who do not want to declare membership of one of its three official language groups – in the executive proportionality rule.
The Global Autonomy, Governance, and
Federalism Forum 2016
19-20 October 2016,
Global Forum is Southeast Asia’s most comprehensive
conference on autonomy, federalism, and governance as a means to address
societal divides and conflicts and promote sustainable development. It
brings together governmental officials, scholars, representatives of
NGOs, business community and media. The list of case studies
presented and discussed include inter alia Mindanao and Cordillera
(Philippines), Canada, Spain, India, Australia, Northern Ireland and Scotland
(UK), Bougainville (Papua New Guinea), Aceh (Indonesia), Nepal, Sri Lanka,
Myanmar, South Africa, Finland and Kenya. Read more…
Tibet Support Groups call on China to resume
dialogue on genuine autonomy for Tibet
10 September 2016, Brussels (Belgium)
The 7th Tibet Support
Groups Conference called on the Chinese government to unconditionally resume
dialogue with the representative of the Dalai Lama and to respond positively to
his efforts to pursue a mutually-beneficial solution through the Middle-Way
approach, which calls for genuine autonomy for the whole of the Tibetan people.
The conference was organized in Brussels by Tibet Interest Group in the
European Parliament, and co-hosted by the International Campaign for Tibet,
Lights on Tibet, Les Amis du Tibet, and the Tibetan Community in Belgium. Read more…
Winter School on "Federalism and Power-sharing" - Call for
5 September 2016, Bolzano/Bozen (Italy)
The Winter School is a common cross-border project of the Institute for Studies on
Federalism and Regionalism of EURAC research, the Faculty of Law and the School
of Political Science and Sociology of the University of Innsbruck. The Winter
School analyzes the phenomena of
federalism, regionalism and multilevel governance from a legal and a political
science perspective. The two-week postgraduate programme welcomes applications
from young researchers and academics, post-docs and post-graduate students,
civil servants from a local, regional or national government as well as
employees of international organizations or NGOs. The deadline for application is 23 October
2016. Read more...
(ed.), Non-territorial Autonomy in Divided Societies. Comparative Perspectives,
This volume aims
to fill a gap in the academic literature on non-territorial autonomy (NTA) by
offering a comparative assessment of the significance of this political
institutional device. Developed theoretically by Karl Renner in the early
twentieth century as a mechanism for responding to demands for self-government
from dispersed minorities within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, NTA had earlier
roots in the Ottoman Empire, and later formed the basis for constitutional
experiments in Estonia, in Belgium, and in states with sizeable but dispersed
minorities. Read more...
Bulletin of Latin
American Research, Special Issue: 25 Years of Autonomy on Nicaragua's Caribbean
Coast: Cultural Diversity and Governance in Indigenous Regions of Latin America,
Volume 35, Issue 3, July 2016, 287–419.
The articles included in this special issue offer a critical assessment of
the last 25 years of autonomy through an examination of some of the most
contentious issues that have characterised the exercise of autonomy rights,
namely: the obstacles facing Miskitu indigenous women who suffer domestic
violence when they need to access the justice system, the long and complex
process of territorial demarcation and indigenous land titling, the historical
roots and contemporary expressions of indigenous autonomy, communal governance
and political participation, and the promise of Afro-descendant land activism.
All the articles included in this special issue shed new light on the
above-mentioned issues, and at the same time provide an overview on
contemporary research on the autonomy process. Read more...
“Exploring Indigenous Self‐governments and Forms of Autonomies” in Corinne
Lennox and Damien Short (eds.), Handbook of Indigenous Peoples' Rights,
Routledge, London and New York, 2016, 83-100.
This chapter focuses on whether a right to autonomy of indigenous peoples
exists under international law or is confined to domestic legislation solely.
In particular, it is suggested that indigenous peoples have the right to
autonomy, which derives from their right to self-determination but without
limiting the scope of the latter. After introducing where forms of indigenous
autonomies worldwide have been established and how these may be classified, the
achievements and failures of the eight case studies of (mainly, territorial)
autonomous arrangements (Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh; Aceh and Papua
in Indonesia; Bolivia; Ecuador; Mexico; Venezuela; and Colombia) are analysed. Read more...
Ethnopolitics, Special Issue: Non-Territorial Autonomy and the Government of
Divided Societies, Volume 15, Issue 1, 2016.
The introduction of the special issue problematizes the concept of
non-territorial autonomy and explores the dilemma generated by the tension
between ethnic geography and degree of self-rule. It introduces a set of case
studies where the relationship between these two features is discussed further:
the Ottoman empire and its successor states, the Habsburg monarchy, the Jewish
minorities of Europe, interwar Estonia, contemporary Belgium, and two
indigenous peoples, the Sámi in Norway and the Maori in New Zealand. The
special issue concludes by suggesting that in almost all cases where autonomy
is extended to a minority within a state this is exercised on a territorial basis
and that in many cases of non-territorial autonomy the powers assumed by the autonomous
institutions are substantially symbolic. Read more...
Tove H. Malloy, Francesco Palermo (eds.), Minority Accommodation through Territorial and Non-Territorial Autonomy, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2015.
The book explores the relationship between minority, territory, and
autonomy, and how it informs our understanding of non-territorial
autonomy (NTA) as a strategy for accommodating ethno-cultural diversity
in modern societies. While territorial autonomy (TA) is defined by a
claim to a certain territory, NTA does not assume that it is derived
from any particular right to territory, allocated to groups that are
dispersed among the majority while belonging to a certain
self-identified notion of group identity. In seeking to understand the
value of NTA as a public policy tool for social cohesion, this volume
critically dissects both NTA and TA, and through a conceptual analysis
and case-study examination, rethinks the viability of autonomies as
institutions of diversity management. Read more....
Tove H. Malloy, Alexander Osipov, Balázs Vizi (eds.), Managing Diversity through Non-Territorial
Autonomy: Assessing Advantages, Deficiencies, and Risks,
Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2015.
volume carves out a space for contextual knowledge production on NTA in
law and the social and political sciences. What are the institutions,
bodies, and functions that ethno-cultural groups can draw on when
seeking to have a voice in their own affairs, as well as over issues in
society related to their identity production? How are these entities
incorporated and empowered to have a voice? What degree of voice do they
have, and how are they designed to project the voice? Thus, contextual
knowledge also involves critical assessment and risk analyses as well as
penetrating insights as to the unintended consequences and hidden
agendas that may inform NTA policies. Read more...
Karlo Basta, John McGarry and
Richard Simeon (eds.), Territorial Pluralism: Managing Difference in
Multinational States, University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver, 2015.
The volume aims to answer the
following question: given traditional concerns
about state sovereignty, nation-building, and unity, how realistic is it to expect that a state’s authorities will agree to
recognize and empower distinct sub-state communities? Territorial pluralism is a
form of political autonomy designed to accommodate national, ethnic, or
linguistic differences within a state. The book examines a wide variety of
cases, including developing and industrialized states and democratic and
authoritarian regimes. Drawing on examples of both success and failure, contributors
analyze specific cases to understand the kinds of institutions that emerge in
response to demands for territorial pluralism, as well as their political
effects. They argue that territorial pluralism remains a legitimate and
effective means for managing difference in multinational states. Read more...