European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) and partners are preparing for the multidisciplinary conference this weekend. A draft programme of The Challenges of Non-Territorial Autonomy is now available.
The conference Minorities, Nations and Cultural Diversity – The Challenge of Non-Territorial Autonomy takes place on 9-10 November 2012 at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland. The conference is open for the public.
The conference is organized jointly by ECMI and The School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy at Queen’s University Belfast, and the Department of Central & Eastern European Studies, University of Glasgow.
At the ECMI, the conference is anchored in the Justice & Governance cluster.
Cultural diversity is the norm in a world of nation-states. A recurrent problem is how to organize what are in fact multi-ethnic and multi-nation states so that majorities and minorities are able to coexist and effectively participate in the life of the state. Or seen from another angle, how to bolster allegiance without suffering cultural alienation and without resorting to territorial secession?
Multicultural liberal democracies sincerely champion equality and individual human rights. However, they do often have considerable difficulties in accommodating culturally diverse minority communities.
Territorial representation is only possible when minority communities inhabit a compact territorial space. Yet in the majority of cases, minority communities do not reside compactly, making any territorial representation impossible.
This situation often causes intractable problems for the functioning of democratic polities. It requires modalities of non-territorial autonomy (NTA) as a solution.
The aim of the conference on NTA is to examine in theory, empirically and through the work of legal practitioners, the challenges and possible solutions offered by different models of NTA for the effective participation of minorities in public life.
NTA takes a variety of different forms, such as Consociationalism and National Cultural Autonomy, but also forms of representation that de-territorializes self-determination, as in the case of indigenous communities, the juridical autonomy as with religious communities, or in the practice of some models of multiculturalism.