By Paul Keal

Paul Keal examines the historic function of overseas legislation and political concept in justifying the dispossession of indigenous peoples as a part of the growth of overseas society. satirically, he argues, legislations and political thought can now shape the root of the restoration of indigenous rights. Arguing for the popularity of indigenous peoples as "peoples" with definitely the right of self-determination in constitutional and overseas legislation, Keal questions the ethical legitimacy of foreign society and examines innovations of collective guilt and accountability.

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Additional info for European Conquest and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: The Moral Backwardness of International Society

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Consequently while the expansion of international society is the departure point for this study, it is concerned not just with states and the society of states but with the immediate and lasting consequences of European expansion for non-European peoples. The purpose of this chapter is to clarify various key terms and concepts that inform the discussion in later chapters. First it concerns the idea of international society and the relationship it has with both Grotius and rationalism as a tradition of international theory.

P. 243. , p. 249. 58 This brings him back to the earlier hierarchy of ‘lower’ and ‘unassimilable races’. ‘If the “natives” are of too low an order or too untameable to be trained for effective labour they must be expelled or exterminated, as in the case of the “lower nomads” ’,59 among whom he includes Australian Aborigines and North American Indians. 60 I have dwelt on Hobson because as well as telling us something about imperialism as an institution, and the representation of non-Europeans at the time, his analysis supports a previous point about the foundations of international society.

Chapter 5 shifts the focus to three political and moral issues resulting from conquest and the subjugation of indigenous peoples. The first of these is that the construction of others has resulted in a variety of harms being done to them. Second is the argument that ‘the West’ bears a collective responsibility for historic injustices. This requires giving an account of how collective responsibility should be construed and one argument is that it means engaging in dialogue, premised on others being different but equal, that attempts to understand others in their own terms.

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