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Title: Possessive individualism in modern diplomacy: a critical approach to diplomatic theory
Authors: Ho, Sheng
Keywords: DRNTU::Social sciences::Political science
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: This paper argues that C. B. Macpherson's political theory of possessive individualism is useful in furthering a critique of the ontological development of modem diplomacy, to the extent that diplomatic theory as informed by its practice has constructed state personhood centered on the exclusive business of the stateaccredited diplomatic apparatus in its international relations. Given that modem international society behaves in ways that acknowledge states as proprietors of their own sovereignty, modem diplomacy as an instrument of the state may be considered possessive individualist because it affirms a sovereign right over its own capacities to engage in the conduct of international relations. Existing approaches to diplomatic theorising are limited because they cast diplomacy within a loss-averse frame with regard to state sovereignty, privileging the state-accredited diplomatic apparatus and perpetuating the very relational conditions that necessitate and legitimise such possessive individualist diplomacy in the first place. A paradoxical problematique arises from this tension between the possessive individualist frame of diplomatic theory and the goals of liberal society: it is only through the sharing of oneself that the individuality can truly be affirmed. Likewise states, and by extension the domain of diplomacy, must often share their sovereignty in order that their very basis for sovereignty may be affirmed in the first place.
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:RSIS Theses

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