Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Shifts in the Meaning of Sovereignty and Applicability of the Concept for Analysis of Contemporary World Politics

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Shifts in the Meaning of Sovereignty and Applicability of the Concept for Analysis of Contemporary World Politics

Article excerpt


This paper deals with changing meaning of sovereignty in context of globalization. It touches upon dialectic relations between sovereignty and globalization. Attitudes towards sovereignty of different non-state actors of contemporary world politics and different states are special interest for the author. The main aim of the article is in analyzing how the changes in technology associated with globalization and creation of civil rights protection rules result in emergence of new political structures and new rules that will replace the rules and structures associated with sovereignty, examines the growing role of new actors in world politics in a multipolar world and uncertainty.

Keywords: sovereignty, international relations theory, world politics, foreign policy

1. Introduction

According to numerous authors, the current epoch is associated with the terms "post-realism" and "post-positivism" (Smith, Booth, & Zalewski (Eds.), 1996). International relations were historically viewed through the prism of the state. Such approach was also dominating during the second half of the twentieth century. However, despite all efforts to become a "timeless truth" (Buzan, 1996), realism is associated with a specific historical context. According to G. Youngs, realistic tradition in international relations, its principles and orientation can be fully understood only when placed in the context of the time when they were formed. It was the time of wreckage of inter-war hopes for world peace through the League of Nations and the beginning of World War II (Youngs, 1999). Studies on sovereign state creation often interpret outside involvement in domestic politics as a force against which nationalist forces mobilize (Chong, 2011). The realism consolidation time was at the cold war epoch. Changing primary units of analysis is the feature of the new era. The evolution rides the line of the state monopoly crisis. Technological, economic, political and cultural changes in international relations are so important that some authors even offer to change the discipline name. For example J. Rosenau, proposed to replace the term "international relations" by "post-internationalpolicy" (Rosenau, 1989). G. Youngs speaks about international relations evolution to global relations (Youngs, 1999).

Nowadays the use of classical geopolitical approach to international relations analysis is becoming less popular. It is stated that in the era of globalization, national boundaries become irrelevant. Most of the post-industrial states have departed from territorial expansion as self-sufficient political objective. Instead, they focused on economic and technological development. Such events as NATO military action in Kosovo, Libyan campaign or talks about intervention in Syria also undermine the principles of territorial sovereignty and the inviolability of borders.

Another problem is that the very notion of sovereignty is western-centered. As Timo Kivimäki has pointed out, "The theory of international anarchy can possibly be supported by European, but not by East Asian, experiences. Supranational control over states seemed acceptable to Europeans; they liad suffered under conflicts caused by expansive nationalism, and thus integration was greeted as a commonly accepted remedy and the foundation of a peaceful, commonly accepted normative order in Western Europe. However, since the Asian experience was different, a sense of ownership could not be infused into their normative order by simply copying the European recipe based on European experience." (Kivimäki, 2012).

Nowadays it makes sense to consider sovereignty only in dialectic correlation with interdependence. Only the contradictions between them give the sovereignty an inherent meaning. Preservation of sovereignty means the ability to achieve objectives despite the interdependence pressures or even using them (Tsygankov, 2000).

2. Materials and Methods

There is a popular question: whether the system of sovereignty is just a relic of the past? …

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