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Title: Towards a democratic conception of sovereignty
Author: Berry, David Steadman
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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State sovereignty is being challenged by a variety of factors, ranging from globalisation, to the increasing importance of non-state actors, to the new modalities of force at the international level. But perhaps the most important challenge to sovereignty is that posed by democracy. Democracy dominates international society to such an extent that it has provoked arguments that democratic processes and content are necessary in such areas as self-determination, recognition of states, and more generally, through a right to democratic governance under international law. This work develops the implications of the challenge of democracy to sovereignty in three arguments. The first, rejecting the trend of much current scholarship, is simply that sovereignty is a valuable legal construct, one that can, and should, be preserved. The second argument is that sovereignty can overcome its present challenges because by its very nature it is a flexible, dynamic, and evolving concept. Sovereignty, both in practice and theory, has represented different things at different times, and continues to react and adapt to new developments. The third argument is that sovereignty is developing in ways that make it more compatible with democracy. This latter argument is particularly contentious, and requires detailed examination of the nature of the three concepts at the heart of this work, namely, statehood, democracy and sovereignty. Several chapters engage in this detailed analysis. After a brief definitional chapter, the concept of statehood and the challenges facing the modern state are examined. Democracy is the focus of the following two chapters, one of which defines it and sets out its substance, and the other examines its theoretical and practical justifications. Five chapters concentrating on sovereignty follow. The first looks at absolutist, the second at contractarian (social contract), and the third at more modern theories of sovereignty. Then the three concepts of statehood, democracy and sovereignty are distinguished and re-assessed, before a democratic conception of sovereignty is set forth.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available