NATIONAL IDENTITY AND THE RIGHT TO SELF-GOVERNMENT
A Dissertation Presented to the
FACULTY OF THE USC GRADUATE SCHOOL
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
In Partial Fulfillment of
Requirements for the Degree
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
In this dissertation, I consider whether the interests in national culture, identity, and membership are sufficient to justify the right of a national community to self-government. I argue that in a multination state, membership in a minority nation can undermine the equal distribution of political power and opportunity. Thus, social institutions should be arranged in a way that helps equalize relevant goods. Nevertheless, I go on to argue that the value of national identity is not enough to justify the right to self-government, both in the form of an independent, sovereign state and an autonomous, sub-state government. My thesis is somewhat unusual, as most philosophers who affirm the value of national identity also endorse the right of a national community to some form of self-government, and most philosophers who deny that a national community has the right to any form of self-government also deny the value of national identity.