Global Politics

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Global Politics

The study of international or rather global politics, seeks to provide

an account of politics in the broadest domain. The domain of

international politics in the twenty-first century is characterised by

the increasing number of actors pursuing common and personal

interests. It is largely due to the globalised, interdependent nature

of the current international political environment that the concepts

of sovereignty and power deserve further evaluation.

The exercise of authority and power are facts as old as time,

throughout the ages men have tried to explain and understand how and

why political authority is organised. Sovereignty is a concept used to

explain political power, to attempt to understand the complex

interactions that take place as man strives towards the most effective

and efficient form of societal organisation.

The purpose of this discussion is to attempt to provide a clearer

interpretation of the terms power and sovereignty and to gain an

insight into the relationship between these important concepts which

advance our understanding of the organisation of political authority.

2. The emergence of sovereignty

Porfessor Hinsley, in his book aptly titled Sovereignty (1986:1),

calls sovereignty a concept and not a fact, a theory or assumption

applied to political power. He says that the term originally expressed

the idea that there is a final and absolute authority in the political

community (Hinsley 1986:1). The concepts of sovereinty and state are

intertwined and "the concept of sovereignty emerges in the wake of the

rise of the state" (Hinsley 1986:17). While the emergence of the state

is a n...

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...d power are so closely tied to each other

and dependent upon one another, that a re-organisation of political

authority will in fact lead to a complete change in the language of

politics. The sovereign state has been a characteristic of the

international political order for the past three hundred years and has

evolved out of a necessity or propensity for order. A sovereign

excerises its power through the creation and maintenance of order and

the provision of security. The power of the state to act as a

sovereign is continually being challenged by forces such as

globalisation, terrorism and regionalism and the continued existence

of a sovereign nation-state lies in its effectiveness as an actor and

its ability to be an actor in the international community is dependent

upon the power structure of the international arena.
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