f_0019757_16828

f_0019757_16828 - On Vulnerability in the South:...

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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 8, No. 4, Winter 2009 79 On Vulnerability in the South: Sovereignty in the Post-Colonial Space Ioana Puscas * Abstract This article engages critically with the question of sovereignty, with a focus on the post-colonial state. Building on Stephen Krasner’s arguments, it will point to the risks of employing European-centered/ inspired concepts for understanding processes in former colonies. In doing so, the paper will reveal the complexity pervading the discourse and history of sovereignty, beyond the purely legalistic definitions, questioning whether this institution was only a new democratic appearance for a system that remained inherently coercive. In relation to this, some epistemological and methodological issues will be explored concerning the discipline of International Relations as such. Key words: sovereignty, post-colonial, empire, decolonization, coercion There seems to be broad, if not unanimous, consensus of the fact that sovereignty is the fundamental institution of international relations, the sine qua non foundation for the relations between states. It is on the basis of a system that privileges sovereignty at its core that the very existence of a plurality of political communities and social orders is rendered possible. On the basis of these essentialist claims, the division of the world into an arrangement composed of sovereign spaces is the departure point for any type of interaction in the system and for various relations of power.
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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 8, No. 4, Winter 2009 80 It is, therefore, hardly surprising that much of the literature on the post-colonial state is confined in a conceptual apparatus and methodological tools that revolve around these set of assumptions. The argument, as expressed above, has acquired the status of a meta-narrative in international theory and practice, as the ossified expression for a global nomos. This type of conceptualization is simplistic and highly conventional. There is a series of epistemological and methodological points which need to be addressed more rigorously when dealing with sovereignty. To begin with, it is very difficult to assess sovereignty, to ‘measure’ it, even though indicators and variables have been suggested for that. Beyond purely legalistic notions sovereignty still remains a contested and problematic issue. Moreover, any study of the problematique of sovereignty represents an exercise in European-ness, in the realm of hegemonic European discourses and institutional arrangements. This raises, as it will be further explored, important limitations when transplanting the model elsewhere. It is crucial, therefore, to be aware of this Eurocentric mindset which has pervaded thoroughly the debate on sovereignty, self-determination and independence in the post-colonial space. By exploring such themes, this paper will point to the way in which sovereignty,
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f_0019757_16828 - On Vulnerability in the South:...

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