Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Felicitas Benziger
SLSA York 2022
Supranationalism, Europe and Africa: Can Changing Notions of Sovereignty Provide an Opportunity to move beyond Colonial Legacies?
York (UK)
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields
The post-colonial state differs significantly from its colonial and pre-colonial versions, both in terms of the context in which it sits, and its nature. The formal recognition of supranational governance models, a striking feature of contemporary international law as demonstrated in the emergence of the EU and AU, offer a contrasting backdrop for future governance with significant potential impact on the sovereign state. This paper explores the potential impact of a new interpretation of sovereignty in the context of supranational governance, on the nature of the post-colonial state, using the EU and the AU as main objects of research. European notions of governance were exported through colonialism to other parts of the globe resulting in imposition of legal systems, and the grant of statehood with its trappings of sovereignty. This course of action has raised significant challenges not only during the colonial era, but also through the decolonisation in the 1960s and 1970s, where the principle of uti possidetis crystallized artificial state borders on post-colonial states that in many instances led to subsequent conflict. Supranationalism, an idea formulated but abandoned in favour of the sovereign state, may in its continental form be the key for Africa to emancipate itself from the remnants of its colonial past, provided the AU succeeds in interpreting an Africanist flavour of supranational governance. Within Europe, supranationalism may also prove key in European states overcoming their own brand of selective nationalism that is leading to significant internal fragmentation among its diverse populations.