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The Idea of Public Law$
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Martin Loughlin

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199274727

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199274727.001.0001

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(p.72) 5 Sovereignty
The Idea of Public Law

Martin Loughlin

Oxford University Press

This chapter explains that sovereignty stands as a representation of the autonomy of the political and is the foundational concept of modern public law. It adds that many of the difficulties in grasping the idea are linked to the failure to recognize public law as a practice with its own distinctive methods and objectives. The resulting confusions flow either from an attempt to place sovereignty within a formal, analytical, and positive frame, or to devise transcendental principles of right conduct to which all legal and political behavior must be subject. It clarifies the concept by presenting ten tenets of sovereignty. It notes that these tenets are ideas translated into concrete practices, and define the essence of the modern concept of sovereignty. It discusses that in order to retrieve an understanding of modern sovereignty, sovereignty must be socially constructed and that it should be used as an expression of contemporary juridico-political discourse.

Keywords:   sovereignty, representation, autonomy, politics, public law, tenets of sovereignty, contemporary juridico-political discourse

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