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On Lingering and Being LastRace and Sovereignty in the New World$
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Jonathan Elmer

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780823229406

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823229406.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
On Lingering and Being Last

Jonathan Elmer

Fordham University Press

Social theorist William Rasch titles his book Sovereignty and Its Discontents, and anthropologist Aihwa Ong worries about sovereignty's “mutations.” Political scientist Stephen D. Krasner uses the same phrase as Rasch to begin his exasperated introduction to what he calls the “organized hypocrisy” of sovereignty. His discontent with sovereignty is that we never seem to know what we are talking about when we use the term. According to Krasner, even the so-called Westphalian model, according to which sovereign states — originally the European absolutist states of the seventeenth century — tolerate and recognize each other internationally on the condition that each states' internal affairs are protected from outside intervention, is of dubious analytical use: “The most important empirical conclusion of the present study” he writes, “is that the principles associated with both Westphalian and international legal sovereignty have always been violated.”

Keywords:   William Rasch, sovereignty, Stephen D. Krasner, Westphalian model, sovereign states

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