State Sovereignty as Social Construct

State Sovereignty as Social Construct

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State sovereignty is an inherently social construct. The modern state system is not based on some timeless principle of sovereignty, but on the production of a normative conception which links authority, territory, population (society, nation), and recognition in a unique way, and in a particular place (the state). Attempting to realize this ideal entails a great deal of hard work on the part of statespersons, diplomats, and intellectuals. The ideal of state sovereignty is a product of the actions of powerful agents and the resistances to those actions by those located at the margins of power. The unique contribution of this book is to describe, theorize, and illustrate the practices which have socially constructed, reproduced, reconstructed, and deconstructed various sovereign ideals and resistances to them. The contributors analyse how all the components of state sovereignty - not only recognition, but also territory, population, and authority - are socially constructed and combined in specific historical contexts.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 316 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.06 x 20.32mm | 476.27g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0521565995
  • 9780521565998
  • 914,458

Review quote

"This useful collection poses an important intellectual challenge to the dominant epistemology...and the central substantive concern...of international politics. The contributors perceptively employ a social constructivist approach to unpack the concept of state sovereignity and reinterpret its several constituent dimensions: recognition, territory, population, authority." S. Mozaffar, Choice

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Table of contents

1. The social construction of state sovereignty Thomas J. Biersteker and Cynthia Weber; 2. Contested sovereignty: the social construction of colonial imperialism David Strang; 3. Beyond the sovereignty dilemma: quasi-states as social construct Naeem Inayatullah; 4. The sovereign state system as political-territorial ideal: historical and contemporary considerations Alexander Murphy; 5. Sovereignty and the nation: constructing the boundaries of national identity Roxanne Lynn Doty; 6. Sovereignty, nationalism and regional order in the Arab states system Michael Barnett; 7. Popular sovereigns, bound states: the practices, structures and geopolitics of Philadelphian systems Daniel Deudney; 8. Hierarchy under anarchy: informal empire and the East German state Alexander Wendt and Daniel Friedheim; 9. Reconstructing the analysis of sovereignty; concluding reflections and directions for future research Cynthia Weber and Thomas J. Biersteker.

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