State Sovereignty as Social Construct

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Cambridge University Press, May 2, 1996 - Political Science - 298 pages
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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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About the author (1996)

Thomas J. Biersteker is Gasteyger Professor of International Security and Conflict Studies and Director of the Programme for the Study of International Governance at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.

Cynthia Weber is professor of international relations at Sussex University in England and the author of "Imagining America at War: Morality, Politics, and Film.

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