Abstract

Written as a response to Julie Cooper's article, this piece situates her critique of contemporary political theory within a set of debates about the nature and form of sovereignty that sit at the intersection of ethics, political theology, and political theory. It focuses in particular on Cooper's critique of attempts by, among others, Judith Butler, Joan Cocks, and Jacques Derrida, to pose ethics against politics as a way of addressing concerns about top-down, monistic conceptions of sovereignty. In place of such a move it offers an alternative political imaginary derived from a neglected tradition of thinking about sovereignty—named variously as consociationalism or confederalism—that is pluralistic, has a distributed conception of political agency, and is not tied to the nation-state as the paradigm for political order.

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