Sovereignty: The Evolution of an Idea

Overview

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.

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Sovereignty: The Evolution of an Idea

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Overview

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 the 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.

About the Author:
Robert Jackson is Professor in the Departments of International Relations and Political Science at Boston University

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“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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Product Details

Table of Contents


Preface     ix
Sovereignty and Modernity     1
Manifestations of sovereignty     1
Sovereignty and modernity     5
Independence and supremacy     10
Power, authority, responsibility     14
The discourse of sovereignty     19
'A Shocking Idea'     24
Europe before sovereignty     24
Respublica Christiana     33
The revolution of sovereignty     38
Sovereigns of Europe and the World     49
The great transformation     49
The divine right of kings     56
Dynastic sovereignty     61
Western empires     66
Imperial sovereignty     72
Popular Sovereignty     78
In the name of the people     78
Parliamentary sovereignty     83
Democratic sovereignty     87
Totalitarian sovereignty     93
National self-determination     97
Territorial sovereignty     104
The end of sovereignty?     112
Sovereignty and Humanity     114
Protecting human rights     114
Humanity discourse     115
Human rights, human wrongs, and sovereignstates     120
Human rights under international law     123
Humanitarian intervention     128
Sovereignty and Globalization     135
9/11 and the state     135
The globalization thesis     138
The sovereign states system     144
Presuppositions of a states system     150
Between past and future     159
Notes     162
References     164
Index     173
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