Floating sovereignty: a pathology or a necessary means of state evolution?
Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 22, (1), Spring Issue, . (doi:10.1093/ojls/22.1.135).
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The framing of the debate concerning sovereignty in terms of the dualism of retention or rejection conceals the floating character of sovereignty and constrains the capacity of the state to mutate, adapt and respond adequately to the diverse and complex processes which range in, through and above it. The paper develops the idea of floating sovereignty by putting forward four main propositions: (i) sovereignty's historical entanglement with statehood makes it unsuitable for non?state political organisations; (ii) although the state has been the necessary condition for sovereignty, the latter is no longer necessary for the evolution of the state; (iii) the traditional ideological function performed by sovereignty, namely the legitimation of state power, could be performed by other organizing principles which prioritize governmental efficiency over territorial extent and democratic criteria over nationalist ones; (iv) this means that the state will no longer be in a position to command the loyalty of its citizens but it would have to purchase it through its capacity to meet social needs, to fulfil its basic functions and through the normative qualities of its institutions and policies. Three institutional designs in core areas of ‘high politics’, that is, the fields of determination of nationality, immigration policy and foreign and security policy show how floating sovereignty could be implemented.
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