3-4 / 2014 Content

89 (2014) 3-4: De-Constructing Sovereignity

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Obituary Notice for Arno Spitz
Ernst-Renatus Zivier


It all started with the “End of History”. Discourses on Sovereignty and Western World Order Politics

Michael Staack / Denis Liebetanz


De-Constructing Sovereignty.
Discursive Legitimisation of Military Interventions

August Pradetto

The starting point of this contribution to the “debate” section is that sovereignty and human rights protection are perceived as conflicting norms of international politics. Taking the emergence of new orders of power in the international system into account, the author comes up with the thesis that the relation of these norms have been re-interpreted in the way that the sovereignty of a high number of non-western states is questioned, mainly by referring to the protection of human rights. This change in approaching the relation of sovereignty and human rights protection takes place in an international environment mainly characterised by the dominance of western liberal democracies partly resuming Cold War politics of confrontation. The aim of this essay, then, is to ask for the specific and historical-contingent characteristics of this questioning of sovereignty.


Sovereignty as a Fundamental Concept of International Law

Andreas von Arnauld

The concept of sovereignty in international law is subject to constant change. This is due to antinomies within external sovereignty (freedom to self-commitment), an externalisation of the sovereignty of the people in the right of peoples to self-determination, and in human rights-based individual sovereignty. In joining a model centred on the State and a model centred on the international community, sovereignty today appears as a tension-fraught, pluridimensional concept. A further strengthening of the idea of sovereignty as responsibility will have to proceed in small steps and needs multilateral framing; it also has to be considered that the traditional notion of sovereignty supports the legal equality of States, thus preventing that might makes right.


Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources in Postcolonial International Law

Sigrid Boysen

The principle of sovereign equality lies at the heart of the post-World War II international legal order. Yet, this order is characterised by a systemic separation between political and economic institutions. The ambivalent features of this dual structure of public international law include the contradiction between its anti-imperialist claims and its imperial origins as well as the paradox between the promise of emancipation and the practices of economic regulation. Against this backdrop, the principle of Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources raises fundamental questions of equality and distributive justice beyond the welfare state.

The End of Sovereignty? The Emergence of Spaces of Violence in the War on Terror

Janosch Prinz / Conrad Schetter

How do the discourses about ungoverned territories and ungoverned spaces contribute to the legitimisation of drone attacks? How do these discourses contribute to the emergence of new spaces of violence in current operations of the ‘war on terror’? How do the logics of these discourses relate to the international order of states organized around a concept of sovereignty which includes the monopoly of violence and the integrity of the territory? On the examples of the concepts of ‘ungoverned territories’, ‘manhunt’ and ‘kill boxes’ we show how the current focus on the generation of fluid, targetoriented spaces of violence is not only in tension with the international order based on sovereignty, but also means an expansion of a neo-colonial logic of control and punishment as a reaction to the breaches of Western norms of political and social order.

“Comprehensive Approach” Revisited: The Dubious Story of Advanced Security

Corinna Hauswedell

The chance of rethinking security between East and West was, unfortunately, wasted after the end of the Cold War. Instead, Western military concepts and action went beyond borders and limits – in the German context this trend materialised itself in the “out-of-area” Constitutional Court decision of 1994 legitimising Bundeswehr participation outside NATO territory. Promising “extended security” on state and personal level triggered cross-cutting discourses, such as “human security”, among the political and academic elites in the 1990s and 2000s. After 9/11 the “war on terror” became the door-opener for numerous military-civilian operations in which a so-called “comprehensive approach” successfully blurred effective selectivity between risks, threats and dangers which needed military response, and by that consequently marginalised civilian forms of crisis prevention.