In the contemporary academic writing on sovereignty, the general tendency is one of skepticism. Many scholars argue that sovereignty of states is on the decline because of porous territorial borders and permeable decision-making mechanisms. Others target the concept as such, claiming that it lacks analytical utility and normative justification, while yet a third group reduces its meaning and utility to its presumed functions in disciplinary discourses and discursive practices. The main argument of this book is that these skeptical positions are based on confused, incoherent, or simplistic notions of sovereignty and that they are therefore untenable. Once we expose state sovereignty to conceptual explication and understand it correctly we cannot escape the conclusion that it denotes an all-pervading and important feature of world politics. It refers to a legal and actual status enjoyed by many but not all political entities and it designates an omnipresent empirical phenomenon, the complexities and the workings of which are intelligible to the human mind. In those few cases where we cannot give a clear-cut answer to the question about the sovereignty of a given entity, it is nevertheless possible to explain why this is the case and in which sense the entity in question is idiosyncratic. In order to substantiate these claims, this study will focus on those political entities that constitute the nexus of the concept, the phenomenon, and the ramifications of state sovereignty.
KeywordsInternational Relation Political Entity Empirical Content State Sovereignty Normative Justification
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