Journal of Autonomy and Security Studies

Volume 3 – Issue 1

June 2019


Kjell-Åke Nordquist

It is a common view, held by scholars as well as many others in the public debate globally, that there is in many networks and regions globally a tendency towards polarization and sweeping generalizations in the exchange of views. This may very well be a true observation, and many argue that the debate as social interaction is losing ground.

From a scholarly perspective, cleaning up a debate is nothing new: it is a classic and critical task to keep an eye on the use of vague or generalizing concepts in the trade. This is so both for the risk of imprecise findings and the risk of debates where the parties talk past one another. Nevertheless, academic work, including theories, are full of vague concepts, sometimes inspiring in their openness, but normally in need of draconic operationalizations to be useful for a more precise conversation and analysis. Examples are probably not needed.

This journal deals with autonomy and security studies.  Both the autonomy and security concepts are in themselves challenging a static and uniform concept of, for instance, the state. But exceptions from the idea that states are uniform constitutional constructs are rather the rule than something strange. For anyone believing otherwise, a good reminder is A.P. Blaustein’s inventory of Constitutions of Dependencies and Special Sovereignties.

This issue of JASS covers areas of security and autonomy among groups and individuals with very different but constitutionally regulated relations to their respective societies. It is a palette of issues that demand to be addressed, that come to the reader from within very different material situations, but with clearly comparable theoretical and practical implications.

Through the articles in this issue of JASS the editors hope that spaces for insightful debate and open discussion – without conversations at cross-purposes – can be held at a time of a trend towards another direction in the wider public sphere.

Article Overview

Autonomy, Indigenous Peoples, and Afro-Descendants in Colombia

Mauricio Romero Vidal and Juan David Niño

The article analyzes how indigenous and Afro-descendant communities achieved participation in the National Constitutional Assembly in 1991 in Colombia and how this process influenced the definition of new territorial institutions in which territorial autonomy and self-rule were successfully granted – against all odds. How did this happen? What circumstances facilitated the agency of these marginalized groups to such an extent that it shaped the new constitution to their benefit? The argument in this article highlights a historical juncture between a global discourse in favor of human rights, and ethnic and cultural diversity – supported by the United Nations – and a regional trend towards democratization and constitutional change. This juncture occurred during the times of a domestic peace negotiation process between the Colombian government and the country’s guerrilla groups, a process that was joined by an unusual social mobilization of underprivileged groups. Taken together, these international and national circumstances created conditions that paved the way for a successful outcome of the constitutional process, for the indigenous and Afro-descendant communities.

Despite this constitutional achievement, reality has however not been easy. The territory of the two groups is rich in natural resources, something that creates opportunities for large scale agribusiness investments, and they are also well located for coca cultivation and cocaine trafficking. Such activities are not beneficial for marginalized groups. Instead, different kinds of violent fortune seekers, legal or illegal, have been attracted to the indigenous and Afro-descendant territories, which have faced threats and violence without any, or very limited, state protection.


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Can a True Finn Speak Swedish?
The Swedish Language in the Finns Party Discourse

Hasan Akintug

This paper aims to analyse the rhetorical utilisation of Swedish language in the discourse of the Finns Party. This contribution will provide an overview of the history of Swedish language in Finland and will attempt to analyse the relationship between the two language groups. This contribution will analyse the rhetorical uses of Swedish language within the discourse of the Finns Party with the intention to highlight the consistently negative portrayals of Swedish language and its status. It will be argued that the historical experience of the inequality of status between the Swedish and Finnish languages have been politicised by the Finns Party as a part of its ethno-nationalist and populist conceptualisation of the Finnish identity.


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Call for Papers

The editors welcome submissions of manuscripts that focus on, or relate to, the topics and intersections of security, autonomy arrangements, and minority issues. Apart from reviewed articles JASS also welcomes other kinds of contributions, such as essays, book reviews, conference papers and research related project notes.

Articles should not exceed 12 000 words (excluding references) and be written in British or American English. For other contributions, such as book reviews, conference reports, project- and research notes, the maximum length is 4 000 words. The layout of the text should be in single-column format and kept as simple as possible.

Manuscripts to be considered for Issue II/2019 should preferably be submitted by 30th of September 2019.

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Journal of Autonomy and Security Studies - ISSN 2489-4265

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


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