Law, Power, and the Sovereign State

The Evolution and Application of the Concept of Sovereignty
  • Citation: Fowler, Michael Ross, and Julie Marie Bunck. Law, power, and the sovereign state: the evolution and application of the concept of sovereignty. Penn State Press, 2010
    • Topics:
    • Human Rights
    • Keywords:
    • sovereignty
    • de facto independence
    • de jure independence

In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet bloc, it is timely to ask what continuing role, if any, the concept of sovereignty can and should play in the emerging “new world order.” The aim of Law, Power, and the Sovereign State is both to counter the argument that the end of the sovereign state is close at hand and to bring scholarship on sovereignty into the post-Cold War era. The study assesses sovereignty as status and as power and examines the issue of what precisely constitutes a sovereign state .In determining how a political entity gains sovereignty, the authors introduce the requirements of de facto independence and de jure independence and explore the ambiguities inherent in each. They also examine the political process by which the international community formally confers sovereign status. Fowler and Bunck trace the continuing tension of the “chunk and basket” theories of sovereignty through the history of international sovereignty disputes and conclude by considering the usefulness of sovereignty as a concept in the future study and conduct of international affairs. They find that, despite frequent predictions of its imminent demise, the concept of sovereignty is alive and well as the twentieth century draws to a close.

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