Taming the Sovereigns

Institutional Change in International Politics

Taming the Sovereigns

Kalevi Holsti inquires as to how we identify "change" in international politics and distinguish between significant and unimportant changes. Do we really live in a new era or simply see more continuity than transformation in international politics? Combining theoretical and empirical arguments, Holsti investigates eight major international institutions, including sovereignty, international law and territoriality, and speculates on their consequences.


"Holsti steps back from the rush of current events to consider more broadly how scholars think about and chart international change. From his baseline conception of a 'society of states' in which relations are regulated by Westphalian norms and institutions, he finds continuity and creeping complexity more than a sharp transformation toward a de-territorialized, borderless world." Foreign Affairs

"By Combining a lucid theoretical analysis with a wealth of empirical data, Holsti has provided an argument that scholars of international politics as well as students will find thought provoking." Perspectives on Political Science

"Holsti's book is an important addition to both the growing body of literature on the nature of international change and to the ongoing debate about the fate of the sovereign state." - Daniel Nexon, Georgetown University