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American Indians and the Trouble with Sovereignty

American Indians and the Trouble with Sovereignty
A Turn Toward Structural Self-Determination


  • Date Published: October 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108415866

£ 78.99

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About the Authors
  • With tribes and individual Indians increasingly participating in American electoral politics, this study examines the ways in which tribes work together with state and local governments to overcome significant governance challenges. Much scholarship on tribal governance continues to rely on a concept of tribal sovereignty that does not allow for or help structure this type of governance activity. The resulting tension which emerges in both theory and practice from American Indian intergovernmental affairs is illuminated here and the limits of existing theory are confronted. Kessler-Mata presents an argument for tribal sovereignty to be normatively understood and pragmatically pursued through efforts aimed at interdependence, not autonomy. By turning toward theories of federalism and freedom in the republican tradition, the author provides an alternative framework for thinking about the goals and aspirations of tribal self-determination.

    • Addresses tribal governments as proper subjects for examination within political science to allow readers to gain greater familiarity with the challenges facing these governments in exercising rights
    • Approaches questions from a theoretical rather than a legal framework so readers can learn about normative conceptual constraints impacting tribes as governments
    • Opens a conversation about the prospects of federalism and republicanism for tribal governments, placing existing practices and concepts under the lens of political theory
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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108415866
    • length: 148 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.35kg
    • contains: 1 table
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. The conceptual limits of tribal sovereignty
    2. Building the constitutive theory of tribal sovereignty
    3. A basis for equal footing? The politics of tribal-state relations
    4. Disabling arbitrary interference
    5. Political participation: a hallmark of participation
    6. The constitutive theory as a theory of freedom.

  • Author

    Kouslaa T. Kessler-Mata, University of San Francisco
    Kouslaa Kessler-Mata is Assistant Professor at the University of San Francisco. Prior to this position, Kouslaa served as a legislative fellow with the National Congress of American Indians in Washington DC and sat on the Board of Trustees for California Indian Legal Services.

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