Sovereignty, God, State and Self

Elshtain, JB. NY: Basic Books 2008

One of America's foremost political theorists explores the connections between our political and ethical convictions, changing forever the way we understand the notion of "sovereignty."

Throughout the history of human intellectual endeavor, one concept has cut across arenas as diverse as theology, political thought, and psychology: sovereignty. From earliest Christian worship to the revolutionary ideas of Thomas Jefferson and Karl Marx, from the feminist movement of the 1970s to the dramas that unfold on the Oprah Winfrey Show today, debates about sovereignty--complete independence and self-government-- have dominated our history.

In this seminal work of political history and political theory, Jean Bethke Elshtain examines the origins and meanings of "sovereignty" as it relates to all the ways we attempt to explain our world: God, state, and self. Examining the early modern ideas of God which formed the basis for the modern paradigm of the sovereign state, Elshtain carries her research one step further, making the unprecedented claim that political theories of state sovereignty fuel contemporary understandings of sovereignty of the self--in other words, when we understand why we have the politics we have, we will understand what makes humans tick. The implications of Elshtain's monumental thesis suggest that self-sovereignty underpins the bedrock on which human communities are sustained.



(My publication)Posted: Thursday, January 22, 2009 by jelshtain
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