Self-governance

Published: 23.01.2009
Updated: 03.12.2011

Self-governance is an abstract concept that refers to several scales of organization. It may refer to personal conduct or family units but more commonly refers to larger scale activities, i.e. professions, industry bodies, religions and political units, up to and including autonomous regions and aboriginal peoples (or others within nation-states who enjoy some sovereign rights). It falls within the larger context of governance and principles such as consent of the governed, and may involve non-profit organizations and corporate governance.

It can be used to describe a people or group being able to exercise all of the necessary functions of power without intervention from any authority which they cannot themselves alter. Self rule is associated then in contexts where there is the end of colonial rule, absolute government or monarchy, as well as demands for autonomy by religious, ethnic or geographic regions which perceive themselves as being unrepresented or underrepresented in a national government. It is therefore a fundamental tenet of republican government and democracy as well as nationalism. Gandhi's term "swaraj" (see also "satygraha") is a branch of this self rule ideology. Another major proponent of self-rule when a government's actions are immoral is Thoreau.

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  1. Swaraj
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