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Rousing from Dogmatic Slumbers

Editor’s Note:  Over the next week, EJIL:Talk! is running a Book Discussion, reflecting on Don Herzog’s Sovereignty RIP. Reviewers include Jack Goldsmith, Neil Walker, Heike Krieger and James Gathii. We begin today with Don Herzog's introduction. Thank you to all of the contributors.  I’m a political theorist, not an international lawyer. (I’m not even a lawyer.) So I’m especially grateful to EJIL: Talk! for letting me introduce my book on sovereignty to this community, and keen to hear what my interlocutors have to say about it. Other political theorists have written on the ontology of sovereignty, the metaphysics of sovereignty, even – trust Jacques Derrida to put things in overdrive – the “onto-theological metaphysics” of sovereignty. I’ll just say that’s not my approach. Still others have proceeded as intellectual historians, concerned with texts and discourses. I’m happy to consider texts, and with relentless unoriginality I conscript the likes of Bodin, Hobbes, and Grotius as articulating what I call the classic theory of sovereignty. To secure social order, goes the theory,…

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