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Ryan D. Griffiths

Dec 20, 2021

Secession and the Sovereignty Game

Strategy and Tactics for Aspiring Nations

Cornell University Press 2021

Secession and the Sovereignty Game: Strategy and Tactics for Aspiring Nations offers a strategic theory for how secessionist movements attempt to win independence. The rules and informal practices of sovereign recognition create a strategic playing field between existing states and aspiring nations, i.e., "the sovereignty game." To win sovereign statehood, all secessionist movements have to maneuver on the same strategic playing field while varying their tactics according to local conditions. To obtain recognition, secessionist movements use tactics of electoral capture, nonviolent civil resistance, and violence. To persuade the home state and the international community, they appeal to normative arguments regarding earned sovereignty, decolonization, the right to choose, inherent sovereignty, and human rights. The book combines original data analysis, fieldwork, interviews with secessionist leaders, and case studies on Catalonia, the Murrawarri Republic, West Papua, Bougainville, New Caledonia, and Northern Cyprus

Ryan Griffiths is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Syracuse University. His research focuses on the dynamics of secession and the study of sovereignty, state systems, and international orders. His most recent book is Secession and the Sovereignty Game: Strategy and Tactics for Aspiring Nations (Cornell University Press, 2021). His previous posts include the University of Sydney, Johns Hopkins University, Yale University, and the Barcelona Institute for International Studies (IBEI). He completed his PhD at Columbia University in 2010.

Aditya Srinivasan assisted with this episode.

Lamis Abdelaaty is an assistant professor of political science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. She is the author of Discrimination and Delegation: Explaining State Responses to Refugees (Oxford University Press, 2021). Email her comments at labdelaa@syr.edu or tweet to @LAbdelaaty.

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Lamis Abdelaaty

Dr. Lamis Abdelaaty is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, and Senior Research Associate at the Campbell Public Affairs Institute. Her book, Discrimination and Delegation: Explaining State Responses to Refugees, was published by Oxford University Press in 2021. Email her at labdelaa@syr.edu or tweet to @LAbdelaaty
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