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Sovereignty alignment process: strategies of regime survival in Egypt, Libya and Syria

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/08/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Third World Quarterly
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date31/08/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Sovereignty is an ambiguous concept. It is always saturated with multiple meanings, especially as other concepts are either defined in terms of it or depend on it for their own meanings. It gets more ambiguous as scholars, especially those adopting constructivism as a theory of politics and international relations, move onto divergent paths, creating a gap between theory and practice. The article proposes the sovereignty alignment process as a two-level approach that can clarify sovereignty and its components, including territoriality. The internal level of the alignment process includes disaggregating meanings into frames before aggregating them into master frames that can identify, group and organise different–even contradictory–facets of sovereignty. The external level traces how these sets of meanings interact with the outside world, having its own meaning and discursive opportunity, which can consolidate the actor’s repertoire of meanings on sovereignty. The outside world can also be material, helping to enact or operationalise the articulated meanings by other means, including the use of force or diplomacy. The approach has been devised to analyse the developments of the Arab uprisings, examining how state leaders redefined their identities and interests to survive the sweeping waves of protests against their regimes in 2011 and afterwards. © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.