Inter-state territorial conflicts are highly instructive of the complex nature of the concept of sovereignty and its modes of social construction in a world where the politicization of territory has become a highly institutionalized practice. However, more often than not, these conflicts revolve around tiny pieces of land lacking any ostensible value for both partners, thus calling into question the applicability of rational action assumptions in international relations. The dispute between Egypt and Israel all through the eighties over 1 km2 of desert called Taba, just after both states signed a peace agreement and Israel restored to Egyptian sovereignty over 60,000 km2 of land, is such an example. Drawing on constructivist and neo-institutionalist approaches that treat sovereignty as a social construct, we argue through the case of Taba that the dramatization of sovereignty and the status politics that motivate it, carried out by state and non-state actors in three different but interrelated arenas: the domestic, the regional and the international, are decisive factors in the constitution of sovereignty. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Status politics
- Territorial dispute
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Sociology and Political Science