The concept of self-determination is virtually as old as the concept of statehood itself. Since its inception self-determination has undergone dramatic alterations inmany aspects, from a concept initially conservatively applied to issues such as decolonisation, to a justification for the break-up of multi-ethnic states. The concept may now extend towards indicating a right of self-determination for indigenous people.
The purpose of this article is to identify the traditional approaches to self- determination, and to attempt to explain and analyse the changes this concept has undergone.
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