Sovereignty

The Origin and Future of a Political and Legal Concept

Dieter Grimm. Translated by Belinda Cooper

Columbia University Press

Sovereignty

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Pub Date: April 2015

ISBN: 9780231164252

192 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $28.00£22.00

Pub Date: April 2015

ISBN: 9780231164245

192 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $80.00£62.00

Pub Date: April 2015

ISBN: 9780231539302

192 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $27.99£22.00

Sovereignty

The Origin and Future of a Political and Legal Concept

Dieter Grimm. Translated by Belinda Cooper

Columbia University Press

Dieter Grimm's accessible introduction to the concept of sovereignty ties the evolution of the idea to historical events, from the religious conflicts of sixteenth-century Europe to today's trends in globalization and transnational institutions. Grimm wonders whether recent political changes have undermined notions of national sovereignty, comparing manifestations of the concept in different parts of the world. Geared for classroom use, the study maps various notions of sovereignty in relation to the people, the nation, the state, and the federation, distinguishing between internal and external types of sovereignty. Grimm's book will appeal to political theorists and cultural-studies scholars and to readers interested in the role of charisma, power, originality, and individuality in political rule.
In this elegant essay, Grimm surveys the thousand-year history of the idea of sovereignty – emphasizing its changing meanings as Western ideas of political legitimacy transform themselves over the centuries. Grimm's work is the first on this subject that combines historical mastery with a sense of the present need to redefine our political understandings. Bruce Ackerman, Yale Law School
This is a concise and excellent book, which will be useful not only for students of legal and political thought, but for historians as well as cultural theorists. Seyla Benhabib, Yale University
The old and moldy idea of sovereignty is brought back to life in this engaging study by a major German legal thinker and former Supreme Court Justice. Against those who advance simplistic and even dismissive views of sovereignty, Grimm's masterful conceptual history reminds us of how rich, complicated, and multisided ideas about sovereignty have been. And in opposition to those who would prefer to toss sovereignty into the ashcan of intellectual history, Grimm recalls the pivotal role sovereignty, when properly understood, can play in protecting democracy and self-government. A must-read for political scientists, legal and constitutional theorists, and anyone else interested in the changing contours of political authority in our globalizing world. William E. Scheuerman, Indiana University
Drawing from both a keen historical recollection of the conceptual transformations of "sovereignty" and a lucid overview of current debates (each a sterling contribution in itself), Grimm shows us a democracy-based case for retention and adaptation of state sovereignty as a first principle of politics, even in today's decidedly post-Westphalian world and even as necessarily shorn of some salient traditional associations so as to fit this world's realities. Frank I. Michelman, Harvard Law School
Sovereignty is a highly sophisticated, yet accessible introduction not only to the history of the concept but to its contemporary status. Using the method of conceptual history developed by German historians, Dieter Grimm outlines a complex journey whereby sovereignty became the self-representation of the early modern territorial state, overcoming both domestic and international competitors for the supremacy of political power, followed by developments in which the concept understood as unlimited by positive legality came to be reformulated under the limits of both constitutional and international law. Finally, he asks the question whether a yet again refurbished concept can keep some continuity with the classical notion as developed by Bodin and Hobbes, and yet preserve its relevance for an understanding of contemporary regimes, national and international. Not without some hesitation, he opts to keep the concept of sovereignty as indispensible for the legal equality and self determination of the main political actors of international law, namely territorial states, that still remain in his view more hospitable for democracy than supra national organizations or even non state federations. Andrew Arato, The New School
This is a remarkable little book; it succeeds in being both conceptually vigorous and rich in historical detail, while remaining clear and concise. Survival
A learned but accessible history of the concept of sovereignty. Foreign Affairs
[Grimm's] pithy and dense analysis covers a vast canvas and provides an even-handed overview. Emile Chabal, New Global Studies
Series Editor's Foreword
Preface and Acknowledgments
A. Sovereignty in a Time of Changing Statehood
B. Development and Function of the Concept of Sovereignty
1. Bodin's Significance for the Concept of Sovereignty
2. Sovereignty in the Constitutional State
3. External Sovereignty
C. Sovereignty Today
Notes
Index

About the Author

Dieter Grimm teaches constitutional law at Humboldt University Berlin and at the Yale Law School. From 1987 to 1999, he served as justice of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany.

Belinda Cooper is a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute in New York and an adjunct professor at New York University's Center for Global Affairs and Columbia University's Institute for the Study of Human Rights. She is an expert on human rights, women's rights, and international and transitional justice and has written for a wide variety of publications in German and English.