Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Josef Korbel School of International Studies

First Advisor

Jack Donnelly, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Alan Gilbert

Third Advisor

Marcelo Hoffman

Fourth Advisor

Ved Nanda


Hannah Arendt, Machiavelli, Political theory, Sovereignty, Max Weber


Ambivalent Sovereignty inquires into the subject of political realism. This subject, sovereign authority, appears to have a dual foundation. It appears divided against itself, but how can realism nonetheless observe legitimate modes of sovereignty emerge? Against the liberal idea that a "synthesis" of both material-coercive and ideal-persuasive powers should be accomplished, within the world of international relations, realism gives meaning to a structural type of state power that is also constitutionally and legitimately dividing itself--against itself. Machiavelli but particularly also other realists such as Hannah Arendt, Max Weber, and Aristotle are being reinterpreted to demonstrate why each state's ultimate authority may symbiotically emerge from its self-divisions, rather than from one synthetic unity. Whereas liberal theorists, from Montesquieu to John Rawls and Alexander Wendt, err too far in assuming the presence of the state's monistic authority, the realist theorists further advance an answer to how sovereign states may begin to both recognize and include only the most-legitimate manifestations of their common dualist authority. Ambivalent Sovereignty is relevant in this sense as it transcends-and-yet-includes these common dualities: freedom/necessity; emergence/causation; self-organization/power structures.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Paul Timmermans


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

1219 p.


Political Science, International Relations, Philosophy