Conceptual Issues and Theoretical Analysis of Sovereignty

Onwe, Sunday O., Nwogbaga, David M. E.


This study on “Conceptual Issues and Theoretical Analysis of Sovereignty” is designed to examine the various perceptions and interpretations of the concept especially with respect to the sources, location, and essence. In the discourse, three schools of thought are dominant: the realists, the liberalists, and the constructivists. While the realists advocated for absolute sovereignty and maintained that it is untouchable and guaranteed only to legitimate nation-states; the liberalists propagated popular sovereignty in which the people constitute the legitimate sovereign; the constructivists on their part perceived sovereignty as a dynamic and socially constructed force which comes from ‘‘someplace’’ and, in any age, is heavily influenced by other social norms, values and practices. Without prejudice to these viewpoints, and taking due cognizance of the interpretations, phases, dimensions, features, and limitations, it is argued, first, that sovereignty consists of two basic elements: the competence to pass ultimate and binding decisions on certain matters, and; the right to delegate this competence to other bodies as the state, while maintaining the right to reclaim it; second, that the maintenance of sovereignty in a state largely depends on the nature of the relationship between the sovereign, the society, and the surrounding political environment. Hence, sovereignty may be located in the monarch, the constitution, the electorates, or the regime as the case might be.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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