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Georges Bataille's concept of sovereignty: an ontological approach to international relations

Aksoy, Mete Ulaş
The critical tradition in International Relations Theory has placed great emphasis on the metaphysical nature of sovereignty, the concept assumed to be pivotal to the modern states system. The present study offers an explanation for the metaphysics that characterizes the prevailing notion of sovereignty via insights provided by Bataille. The study focuses on the ontological implications to which Bataille’s formulation of sovereignty gives rise. Underlying this endeavor is to probe into the ways in which these implications enrich our understanding of sovereignty. One of the most important achievements of Bataille’s approach to sovereignty is that it does not treat sovereignty as merely an administrative and legal issue. This achievement is highly critical in the sense that it enables us to realize the metaphysical dimension of sovereignty. This metaphysics has an important potential to render the problematic points in sovereignty visible. Through the analysis of these points, this study elaborates on the historical development of political authority and state sovereignty. Taking the anthropological data provided by Bataille into account the study claims that with the emergence of modernity, there came into existence a new metaphysical representation of sovereignty.