Sovereignty has been a constitutive feature of the science of international relations (IR) since the beginning of the discipline. As a concept, it permeates every level of analysis – from the sovereignty of the individual will and human rights through the sovereign power of the government to the territorial sovereignty of the nation state and sets the limits and the scope for the competitive conditions of international relations. However, through a series of theoretical essentializations, the concept became an ontology in its own right, which enables the term “sovereignty” to exist before its existence practically and discursive Evocations. Sovereignty is not the perpetual result of accumulated practice, but rather undisputed State of being. By invoking “anarchy” as that which exists outside the territorial limits of the sovereign state, “sovereignty” becomes pre-discursively the world envisaged by current IR theorists.
I challenge theory and practice alike, and below I show how sovereignty is “essentially controversial” when approached through the critical lens of performativity. I’ll start by outlining the conventional understandings that construct sovereignty as an essence that depends on objective (albeit different) criteria. Using a performative reading of sovereignty as discourse and practice, I then show how “an essentialist concept of sovereign statehood … is not an innocent conceptual error” (Aalberts 2004, 257). If instead one considers the simultaneous coherence and ambiguity of mobilizations of sovereignty in the history of international law, essentializations of the concept appear again as an integral part of the “[concealment] of sovereignty as political practice(2004, 257). In the following reflection, I am using this to prove that sovereignty is effective instead of relying on something that one should be or have carried out.
Essentialization of sovereignty
In all realistic, liberal and current constructivist literature, the territorially sovereign (national) state forms the main unit of analysis (see Doyle 1986; Morgenthau 1948; Wendt 1992). At the center of this disciplinary myth-building is the Peace of Westphalia, which was signed in 1648 to mark the end of the religious war in Europe and the beginning of a territorially defined statehood (Tickner 2011, 5). This definitive delimitation of the territorial boundaries made possible the ontological separation of the Within, defined by the exclusive sovereign authority of the outsidecharacterized by the lack of such authority. This separation should be specifically anchored in the IR literature, with the break from classical to structural / systemic or neo-realistic theory cited by Kenneth Waltz (1959; 1979) when he conceived the world in terms of spreading “formally similar units”. whereby the sovereignty is contained in an international space, which in the absence of a higher power is defined by anarchy (Barkawi 2010, 1361). Aside from recognizing differences in power and ability between states, their formal similarity, especially with regard to their assumed territorial fixation, enables them to recognize sovereign statehood – as if it were naturally endowed. The IR theory has fundamentally relied on the “reification of state territorial spaces as fixed units of a secure sovereign space” (Agnew 1994, 77). The concept of the state marries with such territorial fixations, while this space is not only referred to as “domestic”, but also as the place and source of “sovereignty” itself (further equated with “an inner area of order and calm” Doty 1996). 148) has thus enabled the establishment of sovereignty as a pre-discursive characteristic or essence of the territorial state.
However, the end of the Cold War sparked scientific interest in questions of sovereignty. Questions about when and why sovereignty is recognized and whether sovereignty is necessarily tied to a territorial area or can be used to describe a population rather than a state increased with the collapse of the Balkans and the intensification of globalization processes (Biersteker and Weber 1996 )). Some tried to explain the differences in sovereign expressions and skills, especially in connection with the apparent failure of “post-colonial statehood” (Aalberts 2004, 245; Doty 1996, 147). Constructivist interventions, in particular Wendt’s (1992) re-situation of “anarchy” as “what states make of it”, recognized the social construction of sovereignty in terms of the constitutive relationship between sovereignty and statehood and the fact that none are outside the intersubjective there are negotiated meanings, social practices and relationships. Less critical constructivist approaches, however, easily fell into the same descriptive traps as realistic and liberal conceptualizations of the sovereign state, while still adopting the same image of the International as a structure of formally similar units – although they recognized social production as a more natural task. Others, however, continued the search.
Deconstruct sovereignty as an ontology
Deviating from the current international theory, critical scholars, who instead relied on post-structural thinking, tried to locate sovereignty in the burgeoning literature on social construction and performativity. “Its importance may be only slightly disputed by constitutional lawyers and other connoisseurs of fine lines, but for the most part state sovereignty expresses an authoritative silence”, pondered RBJ Walker (cited in Weber 1992, 199) in 1992. Instead of sovereignty as “essential” Acknowledging Walker (1992) concluded that sovereignty is essentially intact as more research is conducted into the nature of sovereign statehood U.Ncontroversial concept. To examine the “imperative silence” that characterizes discussions of what state sovereignty really means, we can use Jackson (1991) as a key example of the reification of sovereignty in IR literature.
If notions of sovereign statehood were conventionally understood in the Westphalian terms anarchy / outside versus sovereignty / inside, there was a shift in scientific attention in the 1980s to address the emerging problem of the uncovering of the opposite by particularly post-colonial African states south of the Sahara treat: allegedly) international agreement and intrastate disorder and violence (Doty 1996, 148). “In this context one might ask what meaning can be ascribed to sovereignty”, notes Aalberts (2004, 247), “now that it can also mean the opposite, ie a zone of anarchy.” To understand this reversal of the meaning of sovereignty, Jackson (1991; Jackson and Rosberg 1982) put forward his thesis So to say versus real Status. As a sign of a shift in the international normative order, African post-colonial states emerged at a time when the criteria of the so-called positive Sovereignty of empirically Statehood was no longer necessary in order to gain international recognition as a sovereign state (Jackson 1991, 1). Instead, the “formal legal condition” of was granted to newly independent states negative Sovereignty that protects them from external interference even though they do not meet the “empirical criteria” of a “substantial and credible statehood” such as “ability for an effective and civil government” (Aalberts 2004, 252-53).
In that quasi-statehood characterizes the temporary state of post-colonial states, which are to be granted “entry into the international order” before their necessary and natural progress towards positive sovereignty, it effectively affirms the reputation of “real” statehood. In addition, it recalls the constitutive role of sovereignty in the normative and material structuring of the international order. This report underlines sovereignty as part of productive “language games” that are of central importance for the construction of international law and international politics, but in view of the assumed empirical core of “real statehood” … [still] makes sovereignty an existing institution apart from international practice “(2004, 256). It does not go beyond the “descriptive error” of the “conventional sovereignty discourse” and instead tries to “save sovereignty itself” by “affirming” the “real” and “true” foundations of sovereign statehood (Doty 1996, 149) In this respect, “the analysis of quasi-statehood … serves as a representative of a generation of essential readings of sovereignty” (Aalberts 2004, 247).
Essentially competition So sovereignty means completely reformulating and rethinking sovereignty and its relationship to statehood as a “subject in the process”. a state of Will instead of being. Weber (1998, 79) links Butler’s theory of the performativity of gender and gender with the topic of the sovereign nation state and shows how sovereignty and statehood must be instead of belonging to the separate areas of the natural versus the social or cultural. Rethinking as “co- constitutive and inseparable ”. Within larger structures of meaning, sovereignty and statehood are constituted by a series of representation / citation practices, in which the meaning of both is derived from how they are carried out and put into practice. Rather than stopping at Jackson’s descriptive assertion that what explains the recognition of legal statehood is to be found in a shift in international normative regimes, a performative reading of sovereignty offers a deeper explanation for examining the production and repetition of these regimes.
Instead of deriving pre-discursively as an essential state of being, this is it put into effect of what it means to be a sovereign state or to assert sovereign power that is de facto the place of sovereignty. If “anarchy is what states make of it,” they say are what’s the name of to do. It is important, however, when states to do They are effectively invoking their sovereignty – in myriad logical and inconsistent ways. Still located within and indivisible from larger power structures, the sovereignty recognized as carried out does not mean that all states have the same chances for their adoption, recognition and their ultimate “success”. The power to both enforce and recognize the sovereignty of the state can in turn become instruments by which the sovereign legitimacy of others can be denied or challenged. This dual use of sovereignty is a central feature of international relations in general and of international humanitarian law (IHL) in particular, with some states asserting their sovereignty and thus strengthening their own sovereignty by designating other states as incompetent or unqualified – in the Act as So to say.
To reiterate, this does not mean, like the international mainstream theory, that sovereignty is simply a state Has or not to have depending on certain objective criteria. If, instead, sovereignty is emphasized as performative, the seemingly “natural” criteria of enjoying sovereignty or not, and the practices through which processes of recognition or denial take place, are denatured and made features of a larger system of normativity / deviation production: ” … understood as the ongoing processes in which “regular subjects” and “norms of normality” are discursively constituted in order to achieve the effect that both are more natural than cultural constructs “(Weber 1998, 81). In the next section an example for examines these differentiation processes, describing the metrics of inclusion and exclusion at the international level through the reification and naturalization of sovereignty discourses and assertions of sovereign power.
Sovereignty in practice
The observance of differentiation practices in the construction of the international critically undermines the explanatory power of Jackson’s theory of quasi-statehood. Jackson’s binary file with negative sovereignty / positive sovereignty appears again and again as an exploitable product of certain configurations of power and points to the historical consistency in which states are recognized as completely sovereign subjects and which are viewed as undesirable and thus conquerable objects in the international world. By dividing sovereignty into positive and negative and establishing an essence that evokes images of identity that were present in many of the past imperial encounters between the north and the south (Doty 1996, 151), contemporary discourses are distinguished between real / functioning and quasi / rogue states thus continue a long history of colonial justifications for rule.
This is particularly evident in IHL frameworks. Take, for example, the R2P principle (Responsibility to Protect). The R2P marks another international normative shift from viewing sovereignty as a right not to interfere in a responsibility of indifference and grants all UN member states the right to intervene when a state is unwilling or unable to protect its people from genocide , Crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing (Mamdani 2009; Williams and Bellamy 2011). What is interesting here is the fact that the R2P regime is a “division of the international system between sovereign states whose citizens have political rights “and”Trust territories whose population is seen as protected areas from the outside ”(Mamdani 2009, 53). This reflects earlier divisions of the International along the “standards of civilization”, which legitimize the colonial conquest of non-European countries and peoples (Anghie 2007) – which are not yet civilized – by granting “sovereign” states the right to intervene in those they deny his “rights to sovereignty”. The point here is not to argue against or for the R2P and its usefulness, but to highlight the fleeting, even ambiguous role of sovereignty as a concept and practice in structuring international law, which is continuously being mobilized for stronger people (“real”) states delegitimize the sovereignty of (“failed”) others in order to justify the interventionist policy. Naming some states as villains / failures / quasi – or even as queers (Weber 1996) – thus serves to legitimize military and other interventions on behalf of humanity and at the same time to strengthen and affirm the sovereign reputation of states Acting States against the “incompetent”, “evil” state acted accordingly.
At the same time, however, not only the dismantling of sovereignty to facilitate intervention, but also the recognition of the sovereignty of stronger states can be used as a key element in power-political struggles. Libya is an important example of both processes. On the one hand, the “coalition of the willing” led by the USA, Great Britain and France used the R2P as a framework of justification to denounce the sovereign authority of Libyan President Gaddafi and so intervene militarily through a de facto regime campaign (Wai 2014); Highlighting a key example of the risks of misusing R2P in political struggles with greater power. On the other hand, the selection and recognition of the Transnational National Council (TNC) by the “international community” in an ongoing conflict marks a particular practice of legitimacy and violence that “should be interpreted in the context of colonial history that participates in the earlier articulations of this problem”. (Çubukçu 2013, 49).
These articulations appear in the logic of 19th Colonial powers of the century that grant legal personality [to select native representatives] in the form of sovereignty to enable the transfer of this sovereignty to the colonial administrators and to pass on the rights to trade, territory or property (Anghie 2007; Çubukçu 2013, 49). The international intervention in Libya in 2011 therefore also included the problem of recognizing who is sovereign and why (Çubukçu 2013, 49). The granting of sovereignty by the US and its allies to the TNC thus enabled a new legal entity in Libya to sign and enter into contracts (with their companies) to trade oil, “rebuild” the country and … commit “to all international conventions and protocols on counter-terrorism” (2013, 49). In short, to make the bid of the West.
The flowing, yet generative use of sovereignty in the Libyan case shows, in a nutshell, that “to speak of sovereignty … never mention something that already exists” (Ashley and Walker 1990, 381). However, denying sovereignty as a pre-discursive reality or state of being is not the same as arguing that conventional knowledge about how sovereignty is built or functions (or who it belongs to) is always wrong or irrelevant. Instead, this essay has shown that contesting sovereignty as such means emphasizing the performative character of sovereignty as such exercised rather than obsessed. Both older and newer conceptualizations of sovereignty in international theory, with Jackson being a key example, have certainly stayed behind the walls of description. So they failed to explain How and why sovereignty appears to be an elusive process in terms of its meaning and practice, which is operationalized differently for certain political goals that are located in certain historical contexts: sometimes in the service of power, in other than recognized language, in order to give power the truth accept.
The challenge to essentializations of sovereignty also enables a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of how sovereignty within its conventional binary boundaries (sovereign / non-sovereign; real / quasi; functional / failed; empirical / legal) can be immediately mobilized in the service of power politics as well as strange ones and take on indecipherable forms (see Weber’s 1999 discussion on the queering of Castro’s Cuba). As in theory (Cox 1981), “sovereignty” is always meant for someone and a specific purpose. sometimes undressed, recognized in others – and yet in others, as Libya reveals, both at the same time. International humanitarian law thus underpins sovereignty as a socio-cultural product by demonstrating its discursive mobilization and practical implementation in the service of specific interests. The IHL also highlights the paradoxical and ambiguous nature and appeal to sovereignty throughout history and underlines their essential challenge. Instead of delimiting something solid and essentially “known”, sovereignty appears again as a constant state of becoming. Ultimately, this denaturation of essentializations of sovereignty helps us understand how theory like Waltz, Jackson, and their predecessors was and remains an essential part of maintaining the structure of the international order as hierarchy rather than anarchy. The international relations curricula would benefit from taking note of this.
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