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Contesting Sovereignty
  • Joel Ng, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
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Book description

Sovereignty is a foundational idea upon which regional organisation of nations is built, yet its demise has often been predicted. Regionalism, which commits states to common frameworks such as rules and norms, tests sovereignty as states relinquish some sovereign power to achieve other goals such as security, growth, or liberalisation. This book examines the practice of normative contestation over sovereignty in two regional organisations of Africa and Asia – the AU and ASEAN. A structured comparison of three case studies from each organisation determines whether a norm challenging sovereignty was accepted, rejected, or qualified. Ng has carried out interviews about, and detailed analysis of, these six cases that occurred at formative moments of norm-setting and that each had very different outcomes. This study contributes to the understanding of norms contestation in the field of international relations and offers new insights on how the AU and ASEAN are constituted.


This timely, meticulously-researched, persuasively-argued, and provocatively-theorized book navigates the complex world of norm contestation in the African Union (AU) and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Ng insightfully theorized that three factors of diplomatic practice drive norm contestation between relatively equal actors in international organizations. This pioneering book will be a great read for scholars and practitioners of international relations, diplomacy, international organizations, African and Asian Studies.

Thomas Kwasi Tieku - Associate Professor, King's University College, Western University

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