Sovereignty, Exclusivity

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Summary

Sovereignty, in political theory, is a substantive term designating supreme authority over some polity. It is a basic principle underlying the dominant Westphalian model of state foundation.

Details

A key element of sovereignty in a legalistic sense is that of exclusivity of jurisdiction. Specifically, the degree to which decisions made by a sovereign entity might be contradicted by another authority. Along these lines, the German sociologist Max Weber proposed that sovereignty is a community's monopoly on the legitimate use of force; and thus any group claiming the same right must either be brought under the yoke of the sovereign, proven illegitimate, or otherwise contested and defeated for sovereignty to be genuine. International law, competing branches of government, and authorities reserved for subordinate entities (such as federated states or republics) represent legal infringements on exclusivity. Social institutions such as religious bodies, corporations, and competing political parties might represent de facto infringements on exclusivity.

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