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Sovereignty in the Modern World

  • Stephen Krasner

In this video lecture, recorded in 2004, Stanford professor and Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies scholar Stephen Krasner provides a comprehensive overview of the concept of sovereignty and how it applies to the 21st century. He explains the three types of sovereignty—international legal, Westphalian, and domestic—and explains what they look like in the real world. Dr. Krasner then runs through historical examples of how sovereignty has been understood and explains why sovereignty has been and continues to be violated. He ends by highlighting the relationship between sovereignty and security in the modern world. 

A free classroom-friendly discussion guide for this video is available for download below. The discussion guide contains a complete transcript of the video and is appropriate for advanced secondary students and university students. This discussion guide complements and expands upon Dr. Krasner's video lecture. After viewing the video, students work in groups to assess the sovereignty status of several modern states. They then research changes to the level of sovereignty in some of the nations that Dr. Krasner mentioned and share what they learned with their classmates. The lesson ends with a class-wide discussion that summarizes the themes of the video.  

This video lecture and guide were made possible through the support of U.S. Department of Education National Resource Center funding (to Stanford’s Global Studies Division) under the auspices of Title VI, Section 602(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965.