The territory of democracy

The presumption that the jurisdiction of the state extends to the borderes of a certain territory is increasingly being challenged, both by indigenous people within this territory, and by extraterritoriral border control.

How extra-territorial migration control and the territorial claims of indigenous people challenge and re-shape the democratic people

The international borders of the democratic state and its control over territory is currently transformed by the extension of border controls and jurisdiction beyond territory, and by the claims of indigenous peoples to control their own territories. The presumption that the jurisdiction of the state extends to the territory in its  entirety and that it is limited by territorial borders is increasingly challenged. This provokes questions about the increasing asymmetries between the people subject to public decisions and the powers of the people in controlling public decisions.

The aim of this project is to examine how the boundaries of the democratic people – the demos – is affected by challenges to the territorial rights of the state and the simultaneous extension of the jurisdiction of the state beyond its territory. The relation between territory, jurisdiction and the democratic people is examined in two type-cases:

  1. extraterritorial border control (with analytic focus on carrier sanctions, interception of migrants in international waters and excised territory)
  2. and indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination (with analytic focus on the right to self-constitute, property rights to land and the rights of indigenous non-citizens). This project is an international collaboration between scholars in political science and law, with expertise in democratic theory, indigenous rights and law.



Principal Investigator

Ludvig Beckman Professor, Political Science

Project members

Ulf Mörkenstam Professor in Political Science

Other project members


The Swedish Research Council