The Limits of Sovereignty – Deconstructing the Anarchy / Community Dichotomy of Modern Politics

  • Pavel Barša


As the title adumbrates, the task of this paper is to contribute to a denaturalisation of the dichotomy between a democratic and peaceful inside of a national community and potentially violent and anarchical outside of relations among such communities. The mutually exclusive definitions of what is inside and what is outside find their expression in the contradiction between the theory of domestic politics and the theory of international politics. The article begins by a description of these two disciplines with respect to their contradictory ideological premises lying respectively in the conservative-realist and liberal-idealist traditions. Then, two poststructuralist attempts of a critique of modem political dichotomy are outlined: one of Robert B. J. Walker and another of Richard Ashley.
Some intimations of deconstruction avant la lettre of this dichotomy are nevertheless patent even in classical and modem realism that, in contrast to liberal idealism, stresses elements of violence and conflict as something inherent to the social life within already established political communities. Poststructuralists complement this position by a symmetrical stress upon elements of community and order at the level of allegedly anarchical international relations. William E. Connolly (another poststructuralist author) reflects upon possibilities of a democratic politics which would not be enclosed in the territorial borders of one nation-state. Such a politics could subvert national identities and thereby realize nomadic and universalistic potential of globalization processes.
These processes of “deterritorialization”, however, also bring about the possibility of a reactive backlash of new forms of fundamentalism and particularism. Thus, the structures which are being established by globalisation are no less ambiguous in their moral and political consequences than the nation-state established in the first phase of modernization.

Author Biography

Pavel Barša



Research Articles