Concept of Sovereignty in Political Theory

Introduction to the Concept of Sovereignty

The dictionary traces the meaning of ‘sovereignty’ from the Latin word superanus connoting super, i.e., English ‘above’ or ‘sovereign’ or French souverein.1 This means that sovereignty stands for something that is above, super or supreme. As our survey of the development of the concept of sovereignty will suggest, it has been formulated in the specific context of the State and constitutes one of its defining characteristics. Seen as such, if the State is the central theme of political theory, sovereignty is the defining element of the State, or at least, of the nation-state.

Sovereignty is a legal/juristic concept which is related to the legal supremacy of ...

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