Chapter

<i>On Sovereignty and Post-Sovereignty</i>

Neil MacCormick

in Questioning Sovereignty

Published in print October 1999 | ISBN: 9780198268765
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191713118 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198268765.003.0008

Series: Law, State, and Practical Reason

On Sovereignty and Post-Sovereignty

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The absolute power of the sovereign state has been the foundational doctrine for political theory and practice. If the sovereign state is a democratic state, concern about sovereignty is also concern for democracy. This book argues that sovereignty can be lost by one without another's gaining it — and whose loss in apt circumstances can even be a matter for celebration. In making this case, the prospect of Europe beyond sovereign statehood is considered. The idea of subsidiarity summons better visions of democracy than all-purpose sovereignty ever did. A distinction is made between internal sovereignty and external sovereignty. This distinction makes it possible to reflect on the reasons why neither member states nor the European Union of which they are members can strictly be said to enjoy sovereignty at the present time. The issue of popular sovereignty and the sovereignty of the people is also explored.

Keywords: sovereignty; democracy; subsidiarity; European Union; external sovereignty; internal sovereignty; popular sovereignty; sovereignty of the people; sovereign state

Chapter.  7109 words. 

Subjects: EU Law

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