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Sovereignty: The Evolution of an Idea

ISBN: 978-0-7456-2338-2
200 pages
October 2007, Polity
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Sovereignty is at the very centre of the political and legal arrangements of the modern world. The idea originated in the controversies and wars, both religious and political, of 16th and 17th century Europe and since that time it has continued to spread and evolve. Today sovereignty is a global system of authority: it extends across all religions, civilizations, languages, cultures, ethnic and racial groupings, and other collectivities into which humanity is divided.

In this highly accessible book, Robert Jackson provides a concise and comprehensive introduction to the history and meaning of sovereignty. Drawing on a wide range of examples from the US Declaration of Independence to terrorist attacks of 9/11 he shows how sovereignty operates in our daily lives and analyses the issues raised by its universality and centrality in the organization of the world. The book covers core topics such as the discourse of sovereignty, the global expansion of sovereignty, the rise of popular sovereignty, and the relationship between sovereignty and human rights. It concludes by examining future challenges facing sovereignty in an era of globalization.

This interdisciplinary study will be of interest to a wide range of students, academics and general readers who seek to understand this fundamental concept of the modern world.

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Preface.

Chapter 1 Sovereignty and Modernity.

Manifestations of Sovereignty.

Sovereignty and Modernity.

Independence and Supremacy.

Power, Authority, Responsibility.

The Discourse of Sovereignty.

Chapter 2 'A Shocking Idea'.

Europe before Sovereignty.

Respublica Christiana.

The Revolution of Sovereignty.

Chapter 3 Sovereigns of Europe and the World.

The Great Transformation.

The Divine Right of Kings.

Dynastic Sovereignty.

Western Empires.

Imperial Sovereignty.

Chapter 4 Popular Sovereignty.

In the Name of the People.

Parliamentary Sovereignty.

Democratic Sovereignty.

Totalitarian Sovereignty.

National Self-Determination.

Territorial Sovereignty.

The End of Sovereignty?.

Chapter 5 Sovereignty and Humanity.

Protecting Human Rights.

Humanity Discourse.

Human Rights, Human Wrongs, and Sovereign States.

Human Rights under International Law.

Humanitarian Intervention.

Chapter 6 Sovereignty and Globalization.

9/11 and the State.

The Globalization Thesis.

The Sovereign States System.

Presuppositions of a States System.

Between Past and Future

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Robert Jackson is Professor of International Relations and Political Science at Boston University.
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  • New book by Robert Jackson in very successful Key Concepts dealing with the concept of Sovereignty
  • Concise, clearly written and comprehensive introduction to the history and meaning of sovereignty
  • Draws on a wide range of examples – from the US Declaration of Independence to terrorist attacks of 9/11
  • Shows how sovereignty operates in our daily lives and analyses the issues raised by its universality and centrality in the organization of the world
  • Covers core topics such as the discourse of sovereignty, the global expansion of sovereignty, the rise of popular sovereignty, and the relationship between sovereignty and human rights
  • Concludes by examining future challenges facing sovereignty in an era of globalization
See More
“A strong, coherent and logical narrative ... Its lucid and cogent approach makes it highly useful to those new to the subject and its substantial arguments will stimulate those who are more advanced.”
International Affairs

“Sovereignty is a systematic survey of the history of an idea. It accomplishes the ambitious task of untangling the often conflated concepts of authority, supremacy, independence and power from sovereignty. As such, it is a must-have for researchers and teachers concerned with understanding the development of independent, sovereign states.”
David A. Armstrong, Nuffield College, Oxford

“Sovereignty is the great survivor among modern political concepts. Its death – and the retreat of the State and society of states that it supports – have often been foretold. Yet they persist. In this penetrating and elegantly written book Robert Jackson explains why. It will be indispensable reading for all students of politics and international relations.”
James Mayall, Centre of International Studies, Cambridge

“Historically grounded and philosophically rich, Jackson’s examination of sovereignty will take a deserved place among the primary works on this foundational concept of international politics. In illustrating how the practices and institutions of sovereignty retain their vitality, he also demonstrates the freshness and cogency of his own thought.”
David Clinton, Baylor University

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