FOR 2757 (2019 - 2023)

Working Paper 8 Released


In July 2023, the eighth Working Paper “Autonomy Reconsidered: Conceptualising a Phenomenon on the Verges of Self-Government and Self-Governance” written by Hans Stanka was published.

For decades autonomy has been utilised as a concept in various social sciences, like sociology, political science, law and philosophy. Certain concepts of autonomy have always reflected the needs of the respective disciplines that made use of the term, but also ever infringed on the interpretation of autonomy in other disciplines. Most notably, conceptualisations of international and constitutional law have found their way into bordering sciences, like political science. The result: a legal positivist view prevailing in the conceptualisations of autonomy within political and administrative sciences.

As this working paper points out, this perspective does not do justice to the complex phenomenon autonomy is or may be in social and political reality. Hence, the paper argues for a differentiated concept of autonomy, splitting it into autonomy claims, actors, process, rights and powers, regimes, and their institutions. The empirical world suggests a salience of formally and informally lived types of autonomy, especially in Latin America, due to the region’s indigenous population often living outside of, or within the limited reach of the state. Therefore, the paper aims to incorporate the dimension of informality – lacking in previous legal positivist approaches.

Autonomy regimes could be entrenched in international, constitutional, or secondary law, or they could be tolerated by the state or seized by autonomy claimants by force. From a theoretical or conceptual perspective, the dimension of (in)formality facilitates the incorporation of autonomy into the discussion on governance and government, mostly on the local or regional level. Thus, the paper establishes autonomy regimes as a concept located at the verges of (self-)government and (self-)governance.

You can find more information here.