Local conditions and the demand for independence: A dataset of secessionist grievances

Ryan D. Griffiths, Angely Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


There are more than 60 secessionist movements around the world, and they all advance arguments for why they deserve independence. These include a history of conflict with the state, illegal occupation and the democratic right to choose independence, among others. Yet no one has conducted a comparative analysis to see how these claims stack up and examined whether some movements actually deserve independence more than others. In this article, we construct a dataset of secessionist grievances. We develop a set of grievance indicators, we specify how they are operationalized and we detail how the grievances are categorized and aggregated. We then tally the results for each contemporary movement and discuss the broader patterns. Our findings show that the secessionist movements with the highest combined scores are, in order, the Saharawis, Palestinians, Tamils, Kachins and Cabindans. The nations with the lowest scores are the Scots and the Faroese.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)580-590
Number of pages11
JournalNations and Nationalism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • autonomy
  • civil war
  • conflict management
  • grievances
  • independence movements
  • secession

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Political Science and International Relations


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