The Domination of States: Towards an Inclusive Republican Law of Peoples


  • Dorothea Gaedeke



domination, republicanism, group agency, self-determination, relational sovereignty, global justice


The article aims to sharpen the neo-republican contribution to international political thought by challenging Pettit’s view that only representative states may raise a valid claim to non-domination in their external relations. The argument proceeds in two steps: First I show that, conceptually speaking, the domination of states, whether representative or not, implies dominating the collective people at least in its fundamental, constitutive power. Secondly, the domination of states – and thus of their peoples – cannot be justified normatively in the name of promoting individual non-domination because such a compensatory rationale misconceives the notion of domination in terms of a discrete exercise of power instead of as an ongoing power relation. This speaks in favour of a more inclusive law of peoples than Pettit (just as his liberal counterpart Rawls) envisages: In order to accommodate the claim of collective peoples to non-domination it has to recognize every state as a member of the international order.