Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 19 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article sketches an alternative picture of group rights and the political sociology that underlies them. It yields not only a different picture of group rights, but reframes the precise character of the conflict between individual and group rights, which is the precursor to normative analysis. A careful examination of constitutional practice reveals that: group rights are a response to political mobilization not only on issues of cultural survival, but around the unequal distribution of economic resources and opportunities, the unequal enjoyment of public services, and unequal access to political power; group rights are claimed by a broad variety of groups, including territorially dispersed minorities and groups that may constitute a majority in the state; in addition to rights to self-government or autonomy, group rights relate to political power, and are designed to ensure representation and participation in common institutions, take a broad variety of forms, arise in a variety of institutional contexts (electoral system design, political party regulation, legislative voting rules, the structure of political executive, courts), are usually not held and exercised by groups acting as a corporate entity, and are best understood as mechanisms to incorporating a group perspective into collective decision-making; and these group rights produce a variety of conflicts with the individual rights of group members and non-members that are materially different from the kinds of rights violations that the political theorists' constitutional image of group rights would suggest.

Keywords: group rights, political theory, comparative constitutional law, self-government, autonomy

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.