Human rights and the social construction of sovereignty

  title={Human rights and the social construction of sovereignty},
  author={Christian Reus-smit},
  journal={Review of International Studies},
  pages={519 - 538}
Sovereignty and human rights are generally considered separate, mutually contradictory regimes in international society. This article takes issue with this conventional assumption, and argues that only by treating sovereignty and human rights as two normative elements of a single, inherently contradictory modern discourse about legitimate statehood and rightful state action can we explain key moments in the expansion of the international system during the twentieth century. After developing a… Expand
The paradox of sovereignty, regime type and human rights compliance
Constructivism as a theory of International Relations (IR) asserts the primacy of norms over material considerations in domestic and international politics. This article criticises the constructivistExpand
The Globalization of Human Rights and State Sovereignty
A distinctive feature of today’s global international society is that, in addition to upholding principles of sovereign equality and territorial integrity, we have seen an ever-increasingExpand
Human Rights, Humanitarian Intervention and State Sovereignty
The course is concerned with the theory and historical evolution of modern human rights regimes, especially the international rights regimes after 1945, and with the debates revolving internationalExpand
The antecedents of ‘sovereignty as responsibility’
Notions of ‘sovereignty as responsibility’ and ‘the responsibility to protect’ are often fra-med as radical departures from the ‘traditional’ conception of sovereignty. Many assume that sovereigntyExpand
Westphalian Sovereignty: Rights, Intervention, Meaning and Context
Over the last two centuries or so sovereignty has proved to be an enigmatic institution, at once constant and changing. Presently, it faces sustained and diffuse siege. Relatively few studies haveExpand
Does democracy need sovereignty?
  • Oisín Tansey
  • Political Science
  • Review of International Studies
  • 2010
Abstract Non-state entities that aspire to statehood are increasingly developing democratic norms and practices, in part to enhance their claims for independence. However, the prospects for democracyExpand
Sovereignty Between Security and Human Rights Principles
The chapter explicates the theoretical backbone of the study, drawing on previous studies in the field and the vantage point this book opts to employ in the study of security and norms. InExpand
The Myth of "Traditional" Sovereignty
The conventional story of sovereignty told in the discipline of International Relations (IR) tells us that there is a “traditional” or “Westphalian” meaning of sovereignty that has prevailed sinceExpand
The co-originality of human rights and democracy in an international order
This paper analyses Jürgen Habermas’s claim that democracy and human rights are co-original and its implications for his international theory. A central argument in his theory, the co-originalityExpand
Sovereignty and self-determination: Where are we?
This article discusses the historical evolution of norms of sovereignty, non-intervention, territorial integrity, and self-determination in international relations. It shows the degree to which theirExpand


The Constitutional Structure of International Society and the Nature of Fundamental Institutions
Modern states have constructed a multiplicity of issue-specific regimes to facilitate collective action. The majority of these institutions are specific instances of the deeper institutionalExpand
Why Africa's Weak States Persist: The Empirical and the Juridical in Statehood
State institutions and organizations in Black Africa are less developed than almost anywhere else, and political instability has been prevalent. Yet, these serious empirical weaknesses have not ledExpand
The politics of authenticity : radical individualism and the emergence of modern society
In this acclaimed exploration of the search for 'authentic' individual identity, Marshall Berman explores the historical experiences and needs out of which this new radicalism arose. Focussing onExpand
The Congress of Vienna: A Study in Allied Unity: 1812-1822
In 1812, at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, a congress convened in Vienna in which the fate of Europe was to be determined for the next hundred years. Attending were the great statesmen of the timeExpand
Human Rights: A New Standard of Civilization?
This is an edited text of the fifth John Vincent Memorial Lecture delivered at the University of Keele on 9 May 1997 in which Jack Donnelly attacks the still common scepticism about internationalExpand
Universal declaration of human rights
It made it possible to improve people's lives. Now it prevents all forms of discrimination in the world. It helps to improve our world.
This argument is restated in Jackson's most recent book
  • The Global Covenant: Human Conduct in World Politics
  • 2000
Daniel Thomas's work on Helsinki norms and the end of the Cold War goes some way to merging these two projects. See 'The Helsinki Accords and Political Change in Eastern Europe
  • The Power of Human Rights: International Norms and Domestic Change
  • 1999
The Condition of States: A Study in International Theory
  • 1991
The European Dynastic States
  • 1991