New book: Essays on Sovereignty

Just published another book: Essays on Sovereignty. It is a theoretical work. An attempt to comprehend sovereignty in its totality, including some of its less obvious aspects, and to evaluate its substantive qualities in light of advances in information technology.

Sovereignty, at least in the form of state sovereignty, is a relatively new idea. Three, maybe four, centuries old. Yet its traditional or mainstream conception as decisively national appears to be somewhat outdated when examined under the scope of globalisation and the emergence of cyber as the irreducible factor of many a modern business and social activity. Hence the [perceived] need for this analysis.

Some of the questions I try to answer

  • What is sovereignty and how may we approach the subject?
  • What are the specifics of self-determination?
  • Is sovereignty confined to the nation state? Can there be a nation-less sovereign?
  • What is the impact of formalised international relations on the exercise of supreme authority? Can the nation state and the polity be distinguished accordingly?
  • Which are the contributing factors to the presence of effective sovereignty?
  • What does globalisation and the rise of the market as a political agent tell us about national sovereignty and the accountability framework of representative democracy?
  • Is cyber politically relevant beyond the warfare-inspired notions of “cyber-attack”, “cyber-defence”, etc.?
  • How can a polity define its supreme authority in the largely notional space that is cyber and what may that imply on governance?

Theoretical but still approachable

In this somewhat short book I have tried to balance two potentially conflicting objectives: to expound on the fundamentals while also keeping things close to the familiar.

  • Concerning the former, I have not hesitated to occasionally run on an outright philosophical tangent. This is done in moderation. To support and clarify the argument.
  • As for the latter, I have produced the book in a format that I consider approachable: blog-like, with chapters appearing as a series of standalone posts. Additionally, the language is less ‘professorial’ in terms of its form. I am trying to move away from the paradigm of [poor] academic discourse (which I had adopted from my time as a university student). The guiding principle is to be able to read a statement out loud. Sentences are short. Technical terms are explained in their context.

Note though that I did not set out to write a manual for the uninitiated. Some arguments may still be nuanced and indeed demanding of the reader’s attention. The primary assumption is that the target audience consists of informed citizens, inquisitive individuals who are more or less aware of the book’s topics. The secondary assumption is that the reader is at least remotely familiar with my multidisciplinarity and penchant for analysing the seemingly self-evident. There are parts to this book that represent a convergence in my two main fields of venture, namely, (i) politics, (ii) software.

The ‘why’

What I have tried to accomplish with the production of Essays on Sovereignty is rather simple, albeit two-fold:

  1. Theorise. To take a step back from regular blogging in an effort to fathom the true extent of certain issues that recur in my work.
  2. Systematise. To view otherwise scattered thoughts in their proper context, put them in a certain order, and draw conclusions from there.

What I have not tried to do is write the definitive opus on the matter. This is an extension of my regular blogging activity: a concatenation of essays that are referred to as a book for the sake of convenience.

Free of charge

I have decided to distribute this book for free (as in “free beer”). There are no usage conditions attached. You may read it online, chapter by chapter as if it were a series of blog posts, or head straight to the single-page view from where you can get your print copy.

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Happy reading!

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