Walled States, Waning Sovereignty

Walled States, Waning Sovereignty Glossary


Capital refers to accumulated wealth. In Walled States, Waning Sovereignty, Brown explores how flows of capital, or flows of money, do not respect national borders.


In psychoanalysis, the ego is the conscious part the mediates between the desire of the id and the rules of the superego.


Literally “outside the law.” Brown refers to militias that have formed along the U.S./Mexico border as instances of extrajudicial border control, because they are more vigilante than sanctioned by the government.


The process of nations becoming increasingly interdependent through economic entangling.


In psychoanalysis, the id is the unconscious part of the psyche, and is the seat of desires.


Literally “between nations,” this refers to relations in which the only parties are nations, such as international treaties.

Late Modern

Brown’s preferred term for our present period, an advanced stage of modernity in which capitalism has become global.


The intrusion of one sphere into another, as when the economy intrudes on politics.


A contemporary form of free-market capitalism that Brown says exists on a global scale today. It can be contrasted with earlier laissez-faire capitalism, in that, instead of the government stepping back to allow markets to function, government intervenes in order to actively make markets more powerful.


The system of international order; a term derived from Carl Schmitt’s book Nomos of the Earth.


An irrational or intensified fear, such as a fear of immigrants.

Political theology

The study of how politics is imbued with religious qualities, such as a reliance on faith and worship of the supernatural, even if governments are secular.


Refers to the psychological processes of people, including their fantasies, desires, and unconscious beliefs.

Settler Colonialism

The occupation of land such that native peoples are replaced by a new people. Brown calls Israel an instance of settler colonialism on previously Palestinian land.

Social contract

A metaphor for the tacit agreements people make in living with each other in a society.

State of Exception

When a sovereign power declares an emergency in which the rule of law does not apply or is temporarily suspended.


In psychoanalysis, the part of the psyche that provides rules and restraints on desires, such as a code of morality or law.


In contrast to international, which is between nations, transnational relations either transcend the nation or involve a party that is not a nation, such as a company, non-government organization, or terrorist group.


From the Treaty of Westphalia: a world in which the primary entities that matter are nations.


Fear of others, usually used in the context of a fear of immigration or people from a foreign country.