Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Mortimer Sellers, Stephan Kirste


Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6730-0_320-1

Secession as a Contested Concept

The word “secession” in English – as well as cognates in many other Indo-European languages – originate in the Latin word “secessio” meaning “to go away” or “to depart”. It is in this sense that the word was first used to describe the withdrawal in 494 BCE of the Roman people – populus – from the Senate and the city of Rome to a hill outside city which was later named, in honor of their secessio, the Sacred Mount. (Hillard 2008, pp. 165–166). In the present context, “secession” is taken to mean a withdrawal (detachment) of territory and people living on it, from an existing state.

Secession is, at least among legal scholars, a much contested concept. Legal – and other scholars – differ in their views on:
  1. 1.

    The means which are used to affect the withdrawal or detachment: is force or threat of force necessary to effect secession?

  2. 2.

    The effect of the withdrawal on the territorial integrity of the original or “host” state from which the withdrawal is...


Socialist Federal Republic Of Yugoslavia (SFRY) Permissive Definition Irredenta Territorial Secession Kosova 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Modern History, Politics and International RelationsMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Tetsu Sakurai
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Intercultural StudiesKobe UniversityKobeJapan