The Concept of Sovereignty in Contemporary Continental Political Philosophy



The concept of sovereignty is one of the central concepts of modern political philosophy. However, faced with processes of economic globalization as well as legal and political universalism, contemporary political theory struggles to account for the exercise of state power in terms of the traditional understanding of sovereignty. This survey article reviews the most influential conceptualizations of sovereignty in contemporary continental political philosophy. These include Schmitt’s defense of sovereignty and Agamben’s rejection of sovereign politics as well as a number of theoretical attempts to account for the complexities of sovereignty and its adaptation to new political circumstances.