Journal of Autonomy and Security Studies

Volume 1 – Issue 2

November 2017


Relations between the center and periphery is a classical political, legal and also cultural issue. As any observer of international relations in recent months have noted, these relations have come to the fore in a number of both national and international agendas.

This is true not only for the European continent, but for on-going conflicts in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America which as well are examples of the challenges that states are exposed to, when dealing with actors based on identity interests, not the least when they are expressed as cross-border political forces.

In the Nordic region, the year 2017 has given a reason for a certain form of intro-spection in relation to the centenary of the Republic of Finland, which at the end of the First World War became independent from the position as a Grand Duchy of Russia. From then on, it was only Iceland that waited for its independence in the Nordic countries, something which was made possible in connection to the next major European War, WWII. Also in this context, the territorial dimensions of identity issues were critical dimensions in the processes that led up to settlements that also hold today.

As the currently ongoing negotiations on a new Autonomy Act illustrates, the autonomy of Åland has been regularly revised and developed during the almost 100 years under which it is has been operative. This has kept the issue both alive and controlled. The autonomy – which in the case of Åland and Finland is part of a larger package of instruments – was at the time of its formation part of a rethinking of a wider international perspective on state formation, self-determination and the creation of a modern state system. The established European system of a balance of power was exposed to ideas of geopolitics and the rights of colonies, peaceful conflict resolution and modern state formation.

Some of these dimensions are treated in detail in this Issue of JASS. It brings together autonomy and security dimensions on a time-line of one hundred years, thus analysing not only a way of thinking one hundred years ago, but also giving an example of how key actors in a center-periphery relation have dealt with the situation, up till today.

Article Overview

Rethinking the Westphalian Order During WW I:
Max Weber on the Timeliness of the European Polity

Kari Palonen

The publication of the Max-Weber-Gesamtausgabe volumes, including his letters and a recent study of Hinnerk Bruhns, have revised the canonical view on Weber as a German nationalist. With a conceptual and rhetorical analysis of his essays Deutschland unter europäischen Weltmächten (1916) and Zum Thema Kriegsschuld (early 1919), I offer an alternative view on Weber’s relationship to European politics.

He defended the ‘Westphalian’ system of balance between great powers, to which he wanted after the end of the War to incorporate Woodrow Wilson’s plans for a new League. Weber was a critic of German wartime policy, maintained his Anglophile sympathies, and saw in tsarist Russia the main threat both to the balance between powers and also to the European Kultur, to which he did oppose barbarism, not the Francophone Zivilisation.

Weber supported the parliamentarisation of German politics and sketched in the 1919 article a proposal for new regulations of warfare in international law. Although Weber could not imagine the EU’s supra-national Parliament and Commission as new elements in the balance of European powers, it would be plausible to advise, in the Weberian spirit, the small member state to strengthen these supra-nation institutions.

Open as HTML / Download PDF

Additional Material

Book Review: 
“Demilitarization in the Contemporary World”

Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark

In this piece Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark reviews the book “Demilitarization in the Contemporary World” edited by Peter N. Stearns. The book appeared already in 2013 and is still highly relevant and important.

Associate professor Spiliopoulou Åkermark is head of research for the research project “Demilitarization in an increasingly militarized world. International Perspectives in a multilevel framework – The Case of the Åland Islands”.

Open as HTML / Download PDF

Research Note: 
Mackinder, Westermarck and the Åland Question

Heidi Öst

In her Research Note, PHD-candidate Heidi Öst explores the possible relevance and role of two pioneers of the London School of Economics for the Åland Island question. What was the relevance of MacKinder and Westermarck, if any?

Open as HTML / Download PDF

25-year Symposium Speech by Honorary Chair:
From Islander to Ålander

Barbro Sundback

In this speech given at the Ålandica congress centre in Mariehamn on the 24th of October 2017, the honorary chair of the Åland Islands Peace Institute, Barbro Sundback insightfully reflects over the development on Åland during the last decades. What made Ålanders the Ålanders they are today? 

Open as HTML / Download PDF

If the PDF Reader above does not display properly, please reload the page.


Journal of Autonomy and Security Studies - ISSN 2489-4265

Ålands fredsinstitut
The Åland Islands Peace Institute
Hamngatan 4
AX-22101 Mariehamn, Åland, Finland


This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0    

CC iconby iconnc iconsa icon