Peter Hägel

in International Relations

ISBN: 9780199743292
Published online March 2011 | | DOI:


The concept of sovereignty designates a form of rule that is intrinsically entwined with the emergence and existence of the modern states system. It relates to states and comprises a set of norms that address an internal (final authority), an external (nonintervention/autonomy), and an intersubjective (recognition) dimension. Individual states’ sovereignty is, however, always a question of degree that varies enormously across countries and over time. As it shapes world order, sovereignty becomes a fundamental political institution, codified in international law. One of sovereignty’s key purposes is the peaceful coexistence of states with different internal political systems. Neglected as a subject of serious analysis in international relations during the Cold War, questions about sovereignty’s continuing relevance in a globalizing world have spurred numerous studies since the 1990s. The major international relations theories have developed accounts of how sovereignty evolves, and the implications of universal human rights, disintegrating states, and globalization are being thoroughly examined. Major change might come with the growth of private and supranational authority structures, but an end of sovereignty seems nowhere near.

Article.  8739 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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