An actor or regime with the recognised ability of exerting supreme authority over a territory defined by borders.

Ever since the Peace of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years’ War in 1648, Europe and later the rest of the world has followed one convention in global affairs—that every sovereign state holds the right to self-determination. In theory, sovereignty exists without any form of foreign influence. But over time, that idea has become increasingly challenged due to globalisation. There are numerous contributing factors, such as interdependence due to global trade and the uncontrollable flow of information to name a few. States are now realising that they are both being influenced by and influencing others in the international system.

Despite its perceived decline, sovereignty remains a major norm in international relations as diplomatic offices and international laws are still modelled after sovereignty. Even if globalisation is withering sovereignty away, there are no signs of different governments becoming more integrated. Essentially, sovereignty remains an idea that has grown more difficult to follow without a replacement. This is the primary theme of The Sovereign, my newest project that profiles the domestic and foreign policies of every country in the world. The Sovereign not only informs on how countries have shaped their own political characteristics, but also how they have changed in a more integrated world.

Above Photo: Schwerin Palace, the seat of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Landtag. (Harald Hoyer, Wikimedia)