Sovereignty Essay

700 Words3 Pages
Sovereignty

Sovereignty refers to ultimate and absolute authority designated to either an individual or an institutional body.

The term sovereignty could be contested due to the fact that there is no universally agreed definition. Thomas Hobbes defined what he considered the basis of a political body as 'the most high and perpetual.' (Hobbes, quoted in Heywood, 1997, p26.) This view has proved rather simplistic. It fails to take into consideration the limitations on the sovereign. Bodin highlighted that although sovereignty provided absolutism, there were restrictions such as natural laws. (Bodin quoted in Heywood, 1997, p26). Offe supports this by explaining of international restrictions on
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The contested nature of sovereignty is summarised by David Held, who explains it 'no longer retains the meaning that it had 50 years ago. The concept is premised upon a bounded territorial state system, increasingly threatened by social and technological change.' (Bealey, Chapman, Sheehan, 1999, p323).

Sovereignty would be useful to a politics student as it is central to the political process. The concept of sovereignty is interrelated to democracy, a key feature of Western politics, which in some form is adopted throughout the world. Through understanding where ultimate authority resides in political institutions, the features and key principles of democracy are analysed. Furthermore, through revising sovereignty, it can be understood how it applies to non-democratic institutions such as dictatorships or one party political regime. By studying sovereignty, a comparison of the contrasting political regimes, (democracies and dictatorships) can be undertaken. Sovereignty, in this way is an intrinsic part of the study of politics. The concept of sovereignty enables a student to explore one of the political controversies of the C21st. On a European level, and to a degree on an international level it is argued that national states have experience a decrease of sovereignty. This is due to some political powers giving been
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