03 Mar Self-determination as a Collective Capability: The Case of Indigenous Peoples
The article explores the idea of self-determination as a collective capability that enhances the freedom and well-being of indigenous peoples in colonial settler states. Collective capabilities have not attracted much attention in the literature to date, but the article sets out to demonstrate that the collective capability for self-determination is precisely the sort of freedom Amartya Sen describes as both the primary objective and the principle means of development. Two ideas lie at the core of the argument: i) the necessary interdependence that exists between the individual and the collective capability for political self-determination; and ii) the intrinsic, instrumental and constructive value of collective political empowerment in the developmental process. To bolster the theoretical argument, the article examines some of the available evidence linking self-determination with concrete improvements in the social and economic welfare and well-being of indigenous peoples in different regions of the globe.