This chapter introduces the topic of self-determination politics. It provides a brief history of contemporary self-determination and its evolution in the international system. It also highlights a series of central questions in the book, including when states will accommodate self-determination groups, when civil war and internecine fighting will occur, and how accommodation and civil war affect the internal structure of self-determination groups and states. Finally, the introduction previews the main argument of the book, which emphasizes the role that internal structure plays in how states and self-determination groups bargain over the status of such groups. The existing literature on nationalism, conflict, and social movements within states provides reference points for this argument.
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