A post-sovereign epoch?, globalisation and the social construction of sovereign space

Thumbnail Image
Mabee, Bryan
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Sovereignty is an often maligned concept in the late twentieth century, generally due to a perception that globalisation is rendering the territorial borders of states irrelevant. Claims such as these often take for granted what sovereignty means, and because of this, fail to recognise its continued importance in international politics, and to the organisation of politics in general. An examination of traditional politics, and to the organisation of politics in general. An examination of traditional theories of sovereignty needs to be seen as an abstract social principle; one that requires common understandings. When this insight is taken further, to conceive of the realm of international politics as a social realm, and therefore a realm that provides for the existence of intersubjective social institutions, sovereignty can be seen in a different light. Sovereignty can be conceptualised as a dynamic institution which exists due to the practices of states, consisting of the constitutive principle of exclusive territoriality and the various regulative rules which surround this rule to help shape actors' expectations. When seen as such, it becomes apparent that this constitutive principle is not under attack due to globalisation, which really entails a shift in the regulative rules of sovereignty, not threatening the essential, constitutive dimension of sovereignty, exclusive territoriality. Such a conceptualisation, therefore, provides a better way to conceive sovereignty, one which can encompass both continuity and change; a transformational and a reproductive logic.