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David Rischel

I am a PhD student at the Department of Politics and International studies (2020-2024), funded by the Chancellor’s EU Scholarship. Before that, I completed a Msc. in political theory at the London School of Economics and a BA. in geography at Oxford University. My project is supervised by Simon CaneyLink opens in a new window and Tom ParrLink opens in a new window.
Research interests

In my PhD, I aim to answer several normative questions relating to territory and territorial rights. Firstly, I am interested in a set of questions broadly related to territorial justice: Is land special from the point of view of justice, or can it be subsumed under more general principles of justice? Should we conceive of territorial rights in terms of property rights, or should we eschew such proprietary conceptions of land (as some postcolonial scholars argue)? If territorial rights are like property rights does this afford property owners a presumptive right to exclude non-owners?

Secondly, there's a set of questions related to territorial jurisdiction or legitimacy: Do states have presumptive territorial jurisdiction over their territory? What account could vindicate such territorial jurisdiction?

The (somewhat counterintuitive) answers I develop to these questions are in brief:

  • Land is less special than most philosophers think, and we can indeed subsume territorial justice under more general principles.
  • There is no reason to eschew proprietary approaches if we clarify what is implied by the possession of land. Crucially, ownership does not grant a right to exclude others.
  • I interrogate one account of territorial jurisdiction, the political autonomy account according to which states have territorial jurisdiction when the people within that territory are co-authors of state institutions. This approach fails to vindicate the territorial jurisdiction of states, I argue.

More broadly, my research interests lie within contemporary political and social philosophy including theories of group agency, domination, and the methodology of political philosophy.

In addition, I actively contribute to Danish media and public debate. In the past I have published on, among other things, the end of history, the crises of liberalism, and bioethics.


In 2021-2022, I taught seminar groups on the module Justice, Democracy, and Citizenship (PO 134). In 2022-2022, I will be teaching the philosophy and politics component of Principles of Political Economy (PH338).