In addition to states, a wide range of actors are involved in the performance of sovereignty today, including private security companies, civil society movements, militant groups, multinational corporations, international non-governmental organizations, and multilateral agencies. Terms such as popular, hybrid, public-private, graduated, shared, parallel and social sovereignty have been used to describe their state-like practices.

Photo: Michael @ Flickr

As people, citizens and consumers, we are more sovereign, though at the same time more dependent than ever before. The sovereignty trademark is being reinvented.

  • Most 21st century conflict involves sovereignty contestation in some shape or form.
  • Sovereignty must be reinvented as new technologies, norms and means of governance are applied.
  • Theoretical distinctions between ‘real’ and ‘simulated’ sovereignty lose significance when the focus is shifted to sovereignty as practice.
  • State sovereignty becomes diluted as sovereign powers and functions are taken over by public-private partnerships involving both state and non-state institutions.
  • With the rise of privatized security and the Responsibility to Protect, states no longer hold a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence.

Read more in a recent PRIO Policy Brief.

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