Universiteit Leiden

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VVI Research Meetings 2022-2023

A feminist approach to the right to self-determination

Wednesday 22 February 2023
Kamerlingh Onnes Building
Steenschuur 25
2311 ES Leiden

The legal content of self-determination in international law reflects the model of the autonomous individual subject as thought by Western philosophers. The state, with its fixed and impenetrable borders, embodies it. Feminist international legal scholars have shown that this way of conceptualizing self-determination has been detrimental for women, both concretely and symbolically, and have proposed some corrections to the concept of self-determination, based on the model of the relational self. However, they remain locked into the categories of international law. Eco-feminist perspectives invite us to rethink the individual subject by emphasising the interconnection of all beings, human and non-human, and the links between the territory, the collective and individual body. According to these views, autonomy no longer concerns the individual alone but a set of entities forming a symbiosis. What would be the legal implications of such a paradigm shift in the description of the autonomous self?

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