This project studies both non-territorial autonomy arrangements and systems of territorial governance at sub-state level in a comparative perspective. In particular, it focuses on contexts where the participation of minorities in public affairs and in matters concerning them needs to be improved.
While it is generally accepted that sub-state governance can play an important role in the management of national, ethnic, linguistic, and religious diversity, the issue of autonomy remains controversial both in scholarly literature and in political debate. Despite the rich existing literature on territorial and non-territorial autonomy arrangements, there is no consensus on the definition, content, and scope of autonomy. Moreover, the empirical exploration of autonomy arrangements tends to focus on a limited number of well-known cases.
CUTE Autonomy seeks to create of a comprehensive collection of case studies at www.world-autonomies.info. This online compendium includes also lesser-known cases, which could become a helpful tool for a better understanding of autonomy-related conceptual and empirical issues and challenges. By adopting a more facts-based approach to autonomy, this project could also provide the ground for a more informed assessment of the advantages and shortcomings of the existing autonomy arrangements, and explore the discrepancies between theory and practice.