The frontispiece of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan, depicting the Sovereign as a massive body wielding a sword and crosier and composed of many individual people

Sovereignty is the full right and power of a governing body over itself, without any interference from outside sources or bodies. In political theory, sovereignty is a substantive term designating supreme authority over some polity.[1] It is a basic principle underlying the dominant Westphalian model of state foundation.

Different approaches

The concepts of sovereignty have been discussed throughout history, and are still actively debated.[2][3] Its definition, concept, and application has changed throughout, especially during the Age of Enlightenment. The current notion of state sovereignty contains four aspects consisting of territory, population, authority and recognition.[4] According to Stephen D. Krasner, the term could also be understood in four different ways:

  • domestic sovereignty – actual control over a state exercised by an authority organized within this state,[5]
  • interdependence sovereignty – actual control of movement across state's borders, assuming the borders exist,[5]
  • international legal sovereignty – formal recognition by other sovereign states,[5]
  • Westphalian sovereignty – lack of other authority over state other than the domestic authority (examples of such other authorities could be a non-domestic church, a non-domestic political organization, or any other external agent).[5]

Often, these four aspects all appear together, but this is not necessarily the case – they are not affected by one another, and there are historical examples of states that were non-sovereign in one aspect while at the same time being sovereign in another of these aspects.[5] According to Immanuel Wallerstein, another fundamental feature of sovereignty is that it is a claim that must be recognised by others if it is to have any meaning:

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Soewereiniteit
Alemannisch: Souveränität
العربية: سيادة
asturianu: Soberanía
azərbaycanca: Suverenlik
Bân-lâm-gú: Chú-khoân
беларуская: Суверэнітэт
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Сувэрэнітэт
भोजपुरी: संप्रभुता
български: Суверенитет
brezhoneg: Riegezh
català: Sobirania
čeština: Svrchovanost
Cymraeg: Sofraniaeth
Ελληνικά: Κυριαρχία
español: Soberanía
Esperanto: Suvereneco
euskara: Burujabetza
فارسی: حاکمیت
føroyskt: Fullveldi
français: Souveraineté
galego: Soberanía
ગુજરાતી: સાર્વભૌમત્વ
한국어: 주권
हिन्दी: सम्प्रभुता
hrvatski: Suverenitet
Bahasa Indonesia: Kedaulatan
íslenska: Fullveldi
italiano: Sovranità
עברית: ריבונות
къарачай-малкъар: Суверенитет
қазақша: Егемендік
latviešu: Suverenitāte
Lëtzebuergesch: Staatsgewalt
lietuvių: Suverenitetas
lumbaart: Sovranità
македонски: Сувереност
მარგალური: სუვერენიტეტი
Bahasa Melayu: Kedaulatan
မြန်မာဘာသာ: အချုပ်အခြာအာဏာ
Nederlands: Soevereiniteit
नेपाली: सार्वभौम
日本語: 主権
norsk nynorsk: Suverenitet
occitan: Sobeiranetat
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Suverenitet
پښتو: حاکميت
português: Soberania
română: Suveranitate
rumantsch: Suveranitad
русский: Суверенитет
саха тыла: Суверенитет
sardu: Soberania
Simple English: Sovereignty
slovenčina: Suverenita (právo)
slovenščina: Suverenost
کوردی: سەروەری
српски / srpski: Суверенитет
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Suverenitet
svenska: Suveränitet
Tagalog: Soberanya
தமிழ்: இறைமை
Türkçe: Egemenlik
اردو: بادشاہی
Tiếng Việt: Chủ quyền
ייִדיש: אויבערשאפט
粵語: 主權
中文: 主權