Authored by: Fiona McConnell

The Ashgate Research Companion to Critical Geopolitics

Print publication date:  January  2013
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409423805
eBook ISBN: 9781315612874
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043720


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In an international political environment dominated by state intervention in the name of the ‘war on terror’, extra-territorial sites of detention, and states being bailed out by the IMF, sovereignty is an increasingly important and contested issue. From the introduction of ‘sovereignty bills’ in European states to violations of sovereign airspace in Iraq, and the secession and recognition of the Republic of South Sudan, it is a principle invoked to defend national interests, justify violence in the name of ‘humanitarian intervention’ and claim independence. Revealing sovereignty as an enduringly powerful yet inherently amorphous and elusive concept, such geopolitical events and discourses both raise doubts about a number of conventional assumptions regarding sovereign power and foreground a series of questions: who and what is sovereign and where does sovereignty lie? Through what mechanisms is sovereign authority constructed and enacted? What is the future of the concept and institution of sovereignty?

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