"Indigenous Peoples" in International Law: A Constructivist Approach to the Asian Controversy

  • Citation: Kingsbury, Benedict. ""Indigenous peoples" in international law: A constructivist approach to the Asian controversy." American Journal of International Law (1998): 414-457.
    • Topics:
    • IR Theories
    • Keywords:
    • indigenousness
    • constructivist approach
    • ‘indigenous peoples’

“Indigenous peoples” as an international legal concept has been justified by particular histories in states formed by European colonial settlement, but is increasingly applied globally, prompting sharp protests and calls for a narrow definition by several Asian states. This article proposes broader justifications and a flexible, but focused, definition. It makes a constructivist argument that such global concepts are not sharply defined but are dynamic abstractions, continuously drawing from and shaping the diverse categories and circumstances of different societies and institutions.

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