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Politics Without Sovereignty: A Critique of Contemporary International Relations 1st Edition

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Editorial Reviews


"Standing against the tide, this provocative volume provides one of the best recent efforts to reiterate why state sovereignty remains vital to a working, cooperative international order" G. John Ikenberry Foreign Affairs

"Echoing Churchill's famous aphorism about democracy, Politics without Sovereignty argues that the sovereign state is the worst form of governance except for all others. In a forceful post-revisionist critique, the editors and contributors contend that only the sovereign state allows both collective agency and political accountability. Bemoaning the slide into global civil society or global governance, only sovereignty, they claim, allows peoples to shape their destinies in progressive ways. This volume is a powerful challenge to current theory in international relations and requires all of us to think deeper about the virtues and necessity of global political change." David A. Lake, University of California, San Diego, USA

"This multi-sided onslaught on fashionable notions and theories about the decline and the mischiefs of state sovereignty is not likely to convince all readers, but the authors' central point, about the fact that political accountability and agency require state sovereignty, is one that needs to be faced rather than evaded out of distaste for the excesses and liabilities of sovereignty." Stanley Hoffmann, Harvard University, USA

"Critical international relations theory has generally used its cutting edge against traditional realist notions of sovereignty. An orthodoxy has emerged which portrays the notion of sovereignty and its embodiment in practice as a block to human emancipation. The essays in this book reappraise the wisdom of this. Its chapters provide bold, closely argued and provocative normative evaluations of the notion of state sovereignty. The arguments here will start a number of hares that will run and run. The book is the culmination of an intellectual project that has been going for over a year, the chapters in it have been refined in seminars and conferences. The editors are skeptical of the idea that the withering away of the state would usher in a utopia of cosmopolitan politics. Instead, they argue that there is a close link between individual agents, sovereign states and human liberty. The ideas in this book will be tested in the vigorous reaction which will undoubtedly follow its publication." Mervyn Frost, King's College London, UK

"In recent years the concept and practice of state sovereignty have been subjected to searching analytical and normative critique. Not only is sovereignty not what IR scholars long assumed it to be, but the taken for granted equation of sovereignty with security and justice has been severely questioned. Curiously, the defense of state sovereignty has so far amounted to little more than the bland reassertion of analytical state-centrism. Politics without Sovereignty lifts this defense to a higher plane. Together, the editors and contributors advance a defense of sovereignty that is at once analytical, normative, and deeply political. It is a volume that will confront and provoke, and in so doing fuel debate and, in turn, insight." Chris Reus-Smit, Australian National University, Australia

About the Author

Christopher J. Bickerton, St John’s College, University of Oxford, UK.

Philip Cunliffe, King’s College London, UK.

Alexander Gourevitch, Columbia University, USA.

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Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ 0415418070
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Routledge; 1st edition (December 21, 2006)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 210 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1842556576
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0415418072
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 14.5 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.98 x 0.51 x 9.02 inches

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