in: World politics: A quarterly journal of international relations, Volume 53, Issue 2, p. 297-324
ISSN: 0043-8871 (print), 1086-3338 (electronic)
Stephen Krasner's Sovereignty and Michael Ross Fowler and Julie Marie Bunck's Law, Power, and the Sovereign State together pose the deepest challenge yet to the assumption of sovereignty in international relations scholarship. Both claim not merely that state sovereignty is now compromised but also that it has always been severely truncated, violated, and curtailed. Both works contribute importantly to the field by amassing and cataloging formidable evidence of compromises of sovereignty. Yet by failing to provide a yardstick by which to compare these compromises with states' comparative respect for sovereignty, both works ultimately fail to sustain their thesis. Both also overlook the constitutive dimension of sovereignty, a dimension whose acknowledgment would render sovereignty far more stable than either admits. By contrast, a third work, Rodney Bruce Hall's National Collective Identity, commendably explores the constitutive role of sovereignty and applies it to the development of the nation-state system. The strengths and weaknesses of all three works help set an agenda for future scholarship on sovereignty.