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The Social Construction of Sovereign Responsibilities

The Social Construction of Sovereign Responsibilities

Chapter:
(p.10) Chapter One The Social Construction of Sovereign Responsibilities
Source:
Sovereignty and the Responsibility to Protect
Author(s):
Luke Glanville
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226077086.003.0002

This chapter lays a conceptual foundation for the examination of the historical development of the relationship between sovereignty and responsibility that follows it. It examines how sovereignty has been understood in International Relations theory and argues, in contrast to some theorists, that sovereignty is not an objective and unchanging principle, but something that demands conceptual and historical inquiry. It defends a constructivist understanding of sovereignty which emphasizes its historically contingent and contested nature against the argument of Krasner about sovereignty which acknowledges historical deviations from the conventional story but refuses to allow that the meaning of sovereignty may have changed over time. The chapter then outlines a framework for conceptualizing the social and historical construction of sovereignty that enables us to understand the development of its relationship with notions of responsibility.

Keywords:   Constructivism, International Relations Theory, Krasner, Responsibility, Sovereignty

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