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Looking Beyond National Boundaries in the Era of Globalisation: A Critical Analysis

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The sovereignty of any state is the supreme control exercised by it over its boundaries and protection of its people. Sovereignty is one of the most controversial concepts in political science and international law, and is closely related to the difficult concepts of state and government, independence and democracy. Originally, as derived from the Latin term “Superanus” and the French term “Souverainete”, sovereignty was meant to be equivalent of supreme power. Bentham defines sovereignty as Any person or assemblage of persons to whose will a whole political community are (no matter on what account) supposed to be in a disposition to pay obedience; and that in preference to the will of any other person. It has departed, however, quite often from this traditional meaning. The statement in the French Constitution of 1791 that “sovereignty is one, indivisible, unalienable and imprescriptible; it belongs to the nation; no group can attribute sovereignty to itself nor can an individual arrogate it to himself“. The idea of popular sovereignty exercised primarily by the people became thus combined with the idea of national sovereignty exercised, not by an unorganized people in the state of nature, but by a nation embodied in an organized state.

In the context of theology and the constitutional theory of the unitary state, sovereignty means omnipotence. Yet, if several entities, none of which is able to attain supremacy over any of the others resign themselves to coexistence with one another, the meaning of sovereignty undergoes subtle changes. Each will still refuse to recognize the superior authority of any other outside authority; it will, however, be prepared to accept on a basis of reciprocity the claim by others in a similar position to be also free from external control. In the dynamics of international law and relations, coordination between political and legal sovereignty is sometimes termed interdependence. It is clear that the concept of state sovereignty is not of its supremacy but is mainly based on law of reciprocity. The sovereign power is dependent on the strength of state, no state is however selfsufficient; a reciprocity of give and take with other sovereign nations thus make the states more superior and friendly towards other states.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2007

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