Regime change and the future of popular sovereignty
Languages of publication
Today the notion of popular sovereignty is seen as the standard of political legitimation. However, there is an important theoretical discussion to be had about the helpfulness of this notion since it is not clear who constitutes the ‘people’ or whether ‘the people’ possess the necessary agency in order to enact sovereignty. This discussion takes on practical interest in light of recent popular struggles for democracy, as evidenced by the Arab Spring of 2010-12 as well as the uprisings in Syria. This paper seeks to discover how far these popular revolutions of the early 21st century can be understood as conforming to or diverging from the liberal notion of popular sovereignty derived from the dominant social contract model.
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