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Concepts exercise - Sovereignty

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Introduction

Concepts exercise 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 the sovereign. 'National communities by no means exclusively 'programme' the actions, decisions and policies of their governments.'(Offe, quoted in Held, 2002, p352). The concept can be further contested by focusing on the nature of the sovereign. ...read more.

Middle

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. ...read more.

Conclusion

UN backs Lebanon sovereignty call. This article is of relevance as it highlights how a state is only sovereign or can restore its sovereignty once it is recognised by other states. This is the situation in Lebanon, which is likely to regain its sovereignty once Syria removes its troops and no longer undermines the Lebanese authority and control. A convention in the international system explains that all states must have mutual respect for each other's sovereignty and territory. (Bealey, Chapman and Sheehan, 1999, p360). Roger Knapman on the EU constitution. This article is an example of the ongoing controversy of how UK parliamentary sovereignty is arguably decreasing due to EU membership. The article refers to the impact EU legislation, in particular the planned constitution has on UK sovereignty due to EU law overriding national law. The view generated contradicts that of Jack Straw who argued that the EU constitution strengthens national government. ...read more.

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