Walled States, Waning Sovereignty

Walled States, Waning Sovereignty Essay Questions

  1. 1

    Describe the Westphalian world.

    The Westphalian world is a world divided into nation-states. Global affairs are a matter of relations between these nations. For instance, international law and treaties organize the obligations nations have to each other. The most important thing is that interactions between people of different nations have to be channeled through the nation itself.

  2. 2

    Why are we in a post-Westphalian world?

    Brown argues that today global politics isn’t just a matter of international affairs. There are also many entities and actors that aren’t national, such as multinational companies or terrorist groups. As a result, nations don’t control the fate of the globe. This loss of national sovereignty means we have left a Westphalian world of nation-states behind.

  3. 3

    Describe the relation between capital and sovereignty.

    Correlated with the waning of sovereignty is the rise of capital. Brown argues that today what really matters on a global level is the market, in particular the flows of money and goods. These flows don’t respect national boundaries, and they aren’t controlled by national governments. Thus, their high importance also shows the decreasing importance of national sovereignty.

  4. 4

    What does the waning of sovereignty mean?

    The waning of sovereignty means that nations have lost some of their power to control or monopolize global affairs. Brown argues this isn’t a matter of individual nations losing power. Rather, the entire class of nations as nations has lost power. This is because of the rise of other classes of organizations such as companies and firms.

  5. 5

    How is land related to sovereignty?

    John Locke argued that people legitimize their governments in order to have a system for managing and negotiating the exchange of private property, including land. Carl Schmitt argued that international relations are premised on recognizing nations are ultimately sections of earth. In both cases, the enclosure of land, whether into private property or into a section of a map, is the basis of national sovereignty.

  6. 6

    What is a defense mechanism, according to Freud?

    A defense mechanism allows people to avoid the bad feelings attached to negative ideas that challenge their sense of reality. A defense mechanism can reroute either the idea itself or the bad energy attached to it. In the first case, subjects develop different ideas to distract them from the negative idea. In the second case, subjects convert the energy into something else, such as an obsession or a phobia.

  7. 7

    How are walls defense mechanisms?

    There are two main ways in which walls are defense mechanisms. First, they defend against the unpleasant idea that nations are losing their sovereignty. They do this by creating a visible image that seems to express sovereign strength. Second, they defend against the unpleasant idea that one’s nation might have problems like inequality or a bad economy. They do this by projecting these problems on the other wise of the wall, so that people think it is only other nations that are bad.

  8. 8

    Describe the relation between personal and national sovereignty.

    Brown argues people see personal and national sovereignty as mirror images. That means they see their nation has being a double for themselves, and therefore they want to protect the borders of a nation in the same way they would want to protect their bodies from violation or contamination. This explains the deep desire people have for walls, which they fantasize keep their nation secure and therefore their bodies.

  9. 9

    Describe the difference between international and transnational.

    International means relations between nations, such as treaties signed by different nations. International relations are characteristic of a Westphalian world divided into nations. In contrast, transnational means relations that transcend nations or involve non-state actors, including companies or terrorist groups. Increasingly, relations today are transnational, which means they belong to a post-Westphalian world.

  10. 10

    What are some fantasies associated with walls?

    Brown discusses four main fantasies. The first is that aliens, or people on the other side of the wall, are dangerous. The second and third are that walls provide containment and that they are impermeable. The fourth is that people inside the wall are good, innocent, and pure.