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Sovereignty: Permanence or Spectral Comeback?

by Adalgiso Amendola

pp. 255-263 Issue 17 (9,1) – January-June 2022 ISSN (online): 2539/2239 ISSN (print): 2389-8232 DOI:


The debate on globalisation has in large part been shaped by Western modern political geography. The map of the world is ordered around sovereign states, their borders and relationships. The subject of this geography is the sovereign state, which occupies the whole scene: relevant international relations are inter-state relations. It was Carl Schmitt’s The Nomos of the Earth that provided us with the most vivid picture: according to Schmitt this world was the miracle of jurists. The state, i.e. sovereignty, kept civil war at bay, while ensuring healthy relationships between politics and economics. Politics ensured order and guaranteed the relative independence of economic interests, while at the same time offering its services in terms of order, stability and security. It is an idealised image of the world that rests on the evident removal of colonialism, which, however, is allowed to surface precisely in The Nomos of the Earth, where Schmitt speaks of the lines of amity as the boundaries between this ordered nomos and the lands to be conquered. Furthermore, this image of the globe is the one that was later used to measure the disruption caused by globalisation. According to this narrative the Economic overpowers the Political when the state ceases to be centre stage. Hence the task is to identify a new order able to restore the primacy of the Political over the Economic, or, conversely, to proclaim the extinction of the Political along with that of the state, which means assuming the economic order as the order of the world.

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