Crisis of Modernity and Mutations of Sovereignty

As we live in the postmodern stage of capitalism, the crisis modernity has been deeply felt at the realm of sovereignty. It is because of the fact that the crisis of modernity is same time a crisis of nation state as well. Modernity was not only characterized by imperialism but also the by the emergence of nation states as a direct result of anti-colonial struggles.

Sovereignty sans Nation States
However, at present, the nation state is in the retreat. The Weberian idea of nation state as the sole monopoliser of legitimate means of violence has become a thing of past. While pointing out the rise of global capitalist hierarchy, Hardt and Negri assert that the end of modern colonialism is also the end of the modern world and modern regimes of rule (Hardt  Negri, 2000, p.134). It is not only the multilevel governance by intergovernmental institutions such as World Bank and IMF but also by the perpetrators of notions such as humanitarian intervention and just war, the nation state is being effectively surpassed. The gradual withering away of the nation state of course does not lead into the end of sovereignty. It is merely a shift from the postcolonial formal sovereignty to the real sovereignty of empire as we live through the stage total subsumption by capital.

The imperial sovereignty which is originated fro the crisis of modernity is characterized by the network model of expansionist power. According to Hardt and Negri, power within the empire is not limited by the fixed boundaries. On the contrary, the imperial power finds the logic of its order always renewed and always re-created in expansion (ibid, p.167). Therefore, imperial sovereignty (re)creates its own borders beyond its borders.

As modernity was characterized by colonial sovereignty of the imperialist powers, it needed nation states to function within the boundaries. But, the passage from modernity to postmodernity supersedes the nation states for the imperial sovereignty which is an open network of power.


Post a Comment