Global Justice and Territory by Cara Nine. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. 192pp., £50.00, ISBN 978 0 19 958021 7
Article first published online: 8 JAN 2014
© 2014 The Authors. Political Studies Review © 2014 Political Studies Association
Political Studies Review
Volume 12, Issue 1, pages 104–105, January 2014
How to Cite
Frye, H. P. (2014), Global Justice and Territory by Cara Nine. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. 192pp., £50.00, ISBN 978 0 19 958021 7 . Political Studies Review, 12: 104–105. doi: 10.1111/1478-9302.12041_26
- Issue published online: 8 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 8 JAN 2014
In her clearly written and thoroughly argued book, Cara Nine engages with a question that has only recently received significant attention from political theorists and philosophers: how should we best conceptualise territorial rights? Embedded in this question are issues regarding the who (what agent is the proper bearer of territorial rights?), what (what set of claims are included in territorial rights?) and why (the normative justification for territorial rights).
The first half of the book details Nine's concept of and justification for territorial rights, both generally and in particular instances. Utilising a natural law theory approach supplemented by capabilities theory, Nine argues that territorial rights are a cluster of rights held by a collective in order to satisfy the basic needs of the collective within a geographical region. To account for particular claims of territorial rights, Nine employs Lockean values of desert, efficiency and autonomy.
The second half of the book deals with possible concerns one might have with territorial rights. Chapter 5 argues against the objection that national borders are morally arbitrary, and thus unjustified. Chapter 6 deals with the question of jurisdiction and ownership over resource rights within a territory. Chapter 7 relates territorial rights to broader debates in global justice. Chapter 8 investigates how the Lockean proviso can ground a territorial claim made by ecological refugee states.
Nine makes a number of intriguing and well-articulated points. Of particular note is her emphasis on jurisdictional authority as the primary (and necessary) incident of territorial rights, rather than ownership rights. This distinction gives her leverage against cosmopolitan criticisms of territorial rights claims, as she convincingly argues that there is a special relationship arising from the value of self-determination between a people and their territory.
While the book touches on most of the key questions, I wish the author had spoken more on the interaction between territorial rights and how utilising them affects foreigners. This lacuna is generated by Nine's focus on the function of territorial rights as the satisfaction of the basic needs of a collective. However, she notes that included in the moral imperative of territorial rights is a minimum standard of justice which is not only domestically oriented, but also internationally oriented, including ‘standards of good conduct in the international sphere’ (p. 49). A more in-depth exploration of this issue may turn out to be a way in which cosmopolitanism creeps back into the picture.