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Death of State Sovereignty?: An Empirical Exploration

NCJ Number
International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice Volume: 34 Issue: 1 Dated: Spring 2010 Pages: 79-96
Dawn L. Rothe; Christopher W. Mullins
Date Published
18 pages
This paper examines the traditional view of states' sovereignty and the degree to which it is becoming weakened, irrelevant or eroded.
As academics have become increasingly interested in globalization, scholars in many fields have turned their attention to theorizations of the state and state power. Admittedly, most criminologists have paid relatively little attention to theories of the state, its function, role, or issues of sovereignty (save for Barak, 1991; Chambliss and Zatz, 1993; Friedrichs, 1992; Michalowski and Kramer, 1987; Mullins and Rothe, 2008; Rothe and Mullins, 2006, 2007, 2008). With the growing criminological interest in and focus on transnational crimes (Friedrichs, 2007), crimes of globalization (Friedrichs and Friedrichs, 2002; Rothe, Mullins, and Muzzatti, 2006; Rothe, Mullins, and Sandstrom, 2009), and crimes of the state (Kramer, et. al., 2005; Michalowski and Kramer, 2006; Rothe and Mullins, 2008), there has been a corresponding shift in the view of the state that emphasizes its place in a "globalized" framework. Many scholars have suggested that the state has been reduced to nothing more than a facilitator of global political, legal, and economic systems. As criminologists of state crime, the authors find this position problematic for the conceptualization and study of governmental crime. They feel that proclaiming states and state sovereignty as eroding and/or dead is premature. In this paper the authors explore one area in which states seem to be voluntarily abdicating certain elements of sovereignty - the entering into of international treaties. Specifically, they examine how states protect their sovereignty through entering reservations to treaties being signed and ratified. Their findings suggest that despite greater attention in global consciousness among countries, states intensely protect their right to self-determination while signing and ratifying treaties, compacts and other international agreements. After providing a detailed discussion of these findings, the authors conclude that state sovereignty is not eroding and is far from dead. Tables, notes, and references (Published Abstract)