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The Challenge of Non-Territorial Autonomy

Theory and Practice

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Edited By Ephraim Nimni, Alexander Osipov and David Smith

This book explores and evaluates non-territorial autonomy (NTA), an important modality of ethnic and religious diversity management. Whereas multicultural liberal democracies sincerely champion equality and individual human rights, they often have considerable difficulty in accommodating culturally diverse minority communities. In most cases, minority communities do not reside within a compact space, making any territorial representation impossible. This brings into focus modalities of NTA as a possible alternative approach. NTA takes a variety of different forms, such as consociationalism or national cultural autonomy, and also encompasses other forms of representation, such as frameworks for accommodating indigenous peoples, juridical autonomy extended to religious communities, or elements of some models of multiculturalism. Using both theoretical and empirical approaches, and also including the work of legal practitioners, the essays within this volume examine the challenges and possible solutions offered by different NTA models for the effective participation of minorities in public life, addressing issues such as the limits and/or possibilities of implementing NTA models in liberal democracies, the extent to which NTA approaches can serve the goals of European integration and the European minority protection framework, and the possible role of NTA in resolving protracted territorial conflicts.

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Alexander Osipov Non-Territorial Autonomy as a Way to Frame Diversity Policies

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: The Case of Russia The notion of non-territorial autonomy for ethnic groups (hereinafter – NTA) has not so far occupied a definite niche in politics or scholarly debates. It was elaborated more than a hundred years ago as a part of a normative model by Austro-Marxist theorists (Renner 1899/2005), but as such exists on paper and still lacks a full-f ledged practical application. While NTA and similar terminologies have been repeatedly employed in the political vernacular (Smith and Cordell 2008; Henrard 2005), the related contexts and scenarios are too diverse and examples of empirical research are rare even now (see, for example, Dobos 2007). Thus, it is not clear whether NTA can usefully serve as a category of analysis and what kinds of substantive referents it might have. This article suggests a way in which NTA could be applied as a descriptive and analytical tool to a sig- nificant segment of identity-related political activities. The suggested approach would mean that NTA depicts top-down arrangements designed for the accommodation and facilitation of collec- tive activities pursued on behalf of identity-based groups. I regard ‘policies of non-territorial autonomy’ as activities (including discursive strategies and symbolic policies) of public authorities purporting to create condi- tions for self-organization and activity of ethnic groups as such. Therefore, such an approach excludes ‘ordinary’ ethnicity-based non-governmental organizations subject to legislation on civil society (because there are no specific arrangements) or advisory bodies on ethnic issues (because there is no implication of ethnic groups’ self-organization). The main problem with...

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