Analysing a Moving Target: The Complex Concept of Sovereignty

  • Nina Wilén


This chapter will give a thorough analysis of the concept of sovereignty. To analyse interpretations of sovereignty in peace initiatives it is crucial to have a broad understanding of what sovereignty entails conceptually. Through a general overview of current debates concerning the meaning and function of sovereignty, certain issues will be given more space than others. At the end of Part I of the chapter, what should come out as particularly important is the dual interpretation of sovereignty as both changing and absolute at the same time. The debate between pluralists and solidarists about the function of sovereignty is also seen as important. In addition, the different parts that constitute a sovereign state are discussed in order to understand the idea of destabilization. Part II of the chapter identifies the analytical tools used in this book, and introduces and explains the choice of a constructivist methodology as the point of departure for the analysis. However, we will begin with a broader overview of sovereignty in international relations.


European Union United Nations International Relation External Actor Humanitarian Intervention 
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Copyright information

© Nina Wilén 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nina Wilén
    • 1
  1. 1.Royal Military AcademyBelgium

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