Conflicting notions of national and constitutional sovereignty in the discourses of political theory and international relations : a genealogical perspective
This thesis presents unexplored aspects of the problematic notion of sovereignty, a major issue in ongoing theoretical debates in international relations. Deploying a 'genealogical' perspective, it clarifies the transformation of ideas of sovereignty which reflect political changes in domestic and international society. Focussing primarily on Anglo-American discourses, it explores the hidden conceptual struggles involved in theories of sovereignty by illuminating its encounter with nationalism and constitutionalism. The national and constitutional forms of sovereignty are used to trace the trajectories of concepts of sovereignty in the fields of political, legal and international studies. This thesis opens with an explication of the genealogical tools derived from Nietzsche and Foucault and a survey of existing accounts of sovereignty within the international relations literature. The historical research begins by identifying the nature of notions of sovereignty within 'constitutional' traditions in seventeenth and eighteenth century Britain and America. After looking into major Continental theories of national sovereignty in the nineteenth century, the thesis examines the rise of nationalistic theories of state-sovereignty in nineteenth century Britain and America. This thesis argues that a strong strand of 'international constitutionalism' appeared as a result of the Anglo-American victory over Germany in the First World War. In consequence, during the initial inter-war period sovereignty was understood as a principle compatible with 'the international rule of law'. The thesis then explores the dramatic decline of this tendency in the thirties which eventually led to the intrusion of national sovereignty in tandem with the rise of political realism. In the midst of the Cold War and the processes of decolonisation, vigorous advocates of national sovereignty in socialist and Third World countries pushed Anglo-American intellectuals to abandon projects of international constitutionalism in the final quarter of this century. It argues that while old-fashioned international constitutionalism based on an anthropomorphic domestic analogy is no longer valid, it is possible to identify in academic debates and political practices values of constitutionalism such as the protection of human rights which are compatible with international society and the concept of sovereignty.