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Title: The Limits of State Sovereignty: An Exploration of Sardinian Minority Nationalism
Authors: Morgan, Daniela
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: The concept of sovereignty has been at the heart of discussions in the discipline of International Relations (IR) over the past 30 years, giving way to much-needed interrogations of the exclusionary implications of realist treatments of the term as bound to the territoriality and rationality of unified states. Overlooked in this critical literature, however, have been minority nationalist articulations of sovereignty that do not conform to the neat categorizations of inter/intra-state politics characteristic of realist imaginations of sovereign power. Responding to this lacuna in IR scholarship, this thesis examines the role and significance of sovereignty in Sardinian minority nationalist discourse. Through an analysis of ethnographic fieldnotes and 37 semi-structured interviews with ‘independentists’ conducted in Sardinia between 2017 and 2018, the research draws attention to how the term’s definition constitutes a complex site of political contestation for minority nationalists. Drawing from a Gramscian perspective that emphasises the importance of adopting a relational approach to the study of political discourses as dialectically constructed, the research investigates how activists treated sovereignty as a way of doing politics. Activists used the term in varying ways to contest conditions of economic exploitation and political and cultural marginalization shaped by the unevenness of Italian governance and capitalist development as well as to formulate alternative ‘myths’ of political belonging and credibility. Arguing for an approach that considers sovereignty as shaped by the ongoing effects of political dynamics of ‘revolution/restoration’, the research contributes to ongoing efforts to produce non-essentializing depictions of people’s engagement with sovereignty whilst not losing sight of the structuring effects of social relations of production on perceptions of collective belonging, political legitimacy and the very possibilities of political manoeuvre.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

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