The Oxford Handbook of the Responsibility to Protect

Author/s (editor/s):

Luke Glanville

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Publication type:

Book chapter

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Oxford University Press

Luke Glanville, ‘Sovereignty’, in Alex J. Bellamy and Tim Dunne, eds, The Oxford Handbook of the Responsibility to Protect, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 151-66.

What is sovereignty, and how does it relate to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)? This chapter begins by considering how sovereignty might be fruitfully understood. It contrasts static and ahistorical descriptions that hamper an understanding of sovereignty with accounts that more usefully emphasize sovereignty’s historically contingent and contested nature. The second and third sections outline how sovereignty has long been understood to entail not only rights but also responsibilities, including responsibilities for the protection of a population, and they briefly trace the development of these rights and responsibilities across history. The fourth and fifth sections explore the particular relationship between sovereignty and human rights and examine the emergence of the concepts of ‘sovereignty as responsibility’ and R2P since the end of the Cold War. The final section suggests some implications of this historically informed account of sovereignty for the understanding and practice of R2P today.

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